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The Regulations.gov Relaunch

By Alex Moll, Communications Officer, eRulemaking Program Management Office

Yesterday, the White House announced the relaunch of Regulations.gov in a post on remaking public participation by Cass Sunstein, the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA):

“In response to the President’s direction, Regulations.gov has launched a major redesign, including innovative new search tools, social media connections, and better access to regulatory data. The result is a significantly improved website that will help members of the public to engage with agencies and ultimately to improve the content of rules.

The redesign of Regulations.gov also fulfills the President’s commitment in The Open Government Partnership National Action Plan to ‘improve public services,’ including to ‘expand public participation in the development of regulations.’ This step is just one of many, consistent with the National Action Plan, designed to make our Federal Government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.”

The eRulemaking Program team, which manages Regulations.gov, regards the relaunch as the first installment in a series of website developments scheduled for this year. The substantial redesign aims to effectively relaunch the site to meet the goals of Section 2 in the President’s Executive Order 13563. The new video below highlights some of these improvements with the significance of public comments. Featured scholars point to the fact that public participation in rulemaking makes a difference in regulatory outcomes.

Emboldened by this fact, equipped with knowledge of the regulatory process, and empowered with new web tools citizens can more easily engage with agencies and inform Federal decision-making. Overall, the relaunch consists of a new website to further advance program goals of access, education, efficiency, and participation.

  • Access – increase the amount, breadth, and ease of access to rulemaking.
  • Education – advance public understanding of the rulemaking process.
  • Efficiency – sharpen processes for smarter governance via docket management best practices.
  • Participation – build confidence for and quality of public participation in Federal decision-making.

Focused on these program goals, we relaunch Regulations.gov this week with new features and functionality. These improvements include the following:

  • Navigation – improved navigation with a simplified homepage.
  • Learning – new homepage tabs allow users to browse featured regulations by category and learn about the regulatory process.
  • Search – new sorting and filtering functions help change and refine search results.
  • Social Media – better connections to Twitter and Facebook, and two-way communication with the public.
  • Data Standardization – consistent use of the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) and standardized regulatory data and descriptions across Federal agencies.
  • Open Data – Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow the app community to link directly to regulatory documents.

Moving forward, we pursue continuous improvement. Based on feedback from various stakeholders, our team and partner agencies have future plans in store for 2012.

Live Chat – We invite you to join us in a live webinar and Twitter chat @RegulationsGov next Tuesday. In the meantime, feel free to share your comments or questions below. What do you think of the new design? What are ways you think we can continue to advance the program’s goals?

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