Beginnings of a Rule
An agency cannot issue a Rule unless granted authority to do so by law. The law authorizing each Rule can be found under the “Overview” tab of a Rule’s page as well as in the Rulemaking Authority section of the
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM)
An agency may choose to employ this optional step in the rulemaking process. The ANPRM allows an agency to gather information related to the potential rulemaking action by soliciting
comments and recommendations from the public before publishing a Proposed Rule and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
The ANPRM indicates where, when, and how a person may submit a comment to the agency. (R.I. Gen. Laws §
Preliminary Evaluations and Analysis
Before the rulemaking process begins, an agency must evaluate all alternative approaches, overlap or duplication with other Statutes and Rules and whether the Rule will have significant economic impact on small business.
Public Notice/Public Comment Period Begins
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
After an agency researches the issues and determines whether a new Rule
is necessary, it often proposes the new language along with a
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(NPRM). These proposals are published in the Rhode Island Code of Regulations (RICR) and are readily accessible to the public. An NPRM contains details about the Proposed Rule including the Rule’s
purpose, its statutory authority, and how the public can submit a comment or get further information about the Proposed Rule from the agency.
Public Comment Period
During this phase of the rulemaking process, agencies accept comments from the public about the
Proposed Rule. Agencies may choose to accept comments directly through the RICR or by mail, fax, or email. If a
public hearing is scheduled, the public can also submit comments via testimony at the hearing. In a typical case, an agency will allow thirty (30) days for public comment; however, the agency may choose to set a comment period for longer than thirty (30) days.
An agency may schedule one (1) or more public hearings on a Proposed Rule. The date, time, and location of any scheduled public hearing will be listed in the NPRM. A public hearing must be scheduled at least ten (10) days from the date the NPRM is published and at least five (5) days before the comment period ends. An agency must also schedule a public hearing if the hearing is requested by twenty-five (25) people or by an organization with at least twenty-five (25) members
(R.I. Gen. Laws §
According to R.I. Gen. Laws §
, “If an agency finds that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare or the loss of federal funding for an agency program requires the immediate promulgation of an emergency rule …” the agency may proceed with the rulemaking action without a public comment period or public hearing. Emergency Rules come into effect once they are signed by the Governor or the Governor’s designee. These Rules are effective for up to one hundred twenty (120) days and may be extended once for an additional sixty (60) days.
End of Public Comment Period
Once the public comment period ends for a
Proposed Rule, the
reviews all comments received and evaluates whether to make logical changes to the Rule based on those comments. The agency also prepares a
Concise Explanatory Statement
which includes its reasons for not incorporating changes suggested by the public (if necessary) and a description of any changes made between the text of the Proposed Rule and the text of the Final Rule filed with
the Department of State.
Final Rule Filed and Effective Date Set
Once the agency has prepared the Proposed Rule in its final form, they file the
Final Rule with the Department of State. The Final Rule must be filed no later than one hundred eighty (180) days after the end of the public comment period. Along with the Final Rule, the agency must file the associated documents in the
rulemaking record with the Department of State for publication in the Rhode Island Code of Regulations (R.I. Gen. Laws §
42-35-2.3). Rulemaking documents can be found on a Rule’s page underneath the “Rulemaking Documents” tab.