(Posted December 1999)
LEARNING ABOUT DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS
Through the Federal Register, a newspaper published every business day, Americans can read about rules or regulations that federal agencies are proposing before they are adopted.
Federal agencies are required to publish notices about certain major policy issues in the Federal Register, and by law, anyone can comment on proposed policy changes. Comments are usually made in writing, but there are often opportunities to express an opinion by e-mail or in person during a public hearing.
Each Federal Register notice gives citizens detailed instructions on how to comment within the usual time limit of 30 to 90 days. The suggestions or criticism cannot be ignored. When the final regulations are later published in the Federal Register, agencies must address the comments received from the public and describe changes made in response to them.
In addition to commenting on an existing regulation, an individual or organization can file a petition advocating new policies that federal agencies should follow.
Many concerned individuals and organizations scan the Federal Register each day for items of interest. Copies can be read in public libraries, colleges and on the Internet (www.access.gpo.gov).
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