Legislation usually steals the spotlight, but regulations often have a greater impact on organizations. Since regulations can more directly impact everyday activities, it is vital for organizations to monitor the regulatory process and engage with regulatory agencies to ensure their interests are represented.
In case you need it, here’s a quick refresher on regulations vs. legislation:
Regulatory agencies enforce laws created by Congress by creating rules and regulations that carry out the intent of the law. Congress often delegates the power to create these rules to specific agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the Federal Communications Commission. These agencies are then responsible for interpreting and enforcing the law within their specific area of expertise or jurisdiction. Failure to comply with these rules and regulations can result in penalties or fines imposed by the regulatory agency.
While legislation can have a broad impact on society, regulations are typically more narrowly focused on specific industries or issues. Regulations can have a significant impact on organizations, as they can affect everything from hiring and human resources to product design and marketing strategies.
Fortunately, the regulatory process is unique from the legislative process in that agencies are proactive in engaging the public for their views on potential rules.
Here are six strategies for organizations to impact the regulatory process:
1. Participate in Public Comment Periods
The number one way for organizations to impact the regulatory process is to participate in public comment periods.
Public comment periods are opportunities for the public to provide feedback on proposed rules and regulations created by federal regulatory agencies. During these periods, individuals and organizations can submit comments on a proposed rule. Comments can express an organization’s stance on an issue or even suggest changes or alternatives. The agency is required to consider these comments before finalizing the rule. The public comment period is typically open for 30 to 60 days and is announced in the Federal Register, this is known as the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
An effective comment is well-researched, provides data-backed evidence or personal experience, and shows your authority on the subject. In other words, what makes your voice worth listening to?
Agencies often have to sift through dozens or even hundreds of comments. Therefore, substance is more valuable than volume. Be concise and focus on how the rule impacts you or your organization, whether that is potential cost, number of constituents impacted, or some other quantifiable metric.
Another tip is to consider working with a coalition on a public comment. For example, you can activate members of an association or find partner organizations with similar missions.