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Senator Lankford Introduces Regulatory Improvement Bills to Improve Rulemaking Process

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced a package of regulatory improvement bills aimed at improving the federal rulemaking process so that the final regulation works better for the American people. Lankford’s objective is to improve the process of how regulations are made by facilitating greater transparency and accountability in the federal rulemaking process. 

“No matter who the president is, the federal rulemaking process needs greater transparency and accountability,” said Lankford. “Through years of hearings, it is apparent to Congress and the public that updating the regulatory process will help protect Americans from overly burdensome regulations that stifle job growth and raise prices on consumers. This package of bills will ultimately result in better regulations, because it will make the rulemaking process more efficient by requiring earlier public engagement for proposed rules, curbing the abuse of agency guidance documents, and forcing agencies to analyze the total impact regulations have on small businesses. I’m optimistic that we can build a bipartisan coalition to support greater transparency and accountability for agency rulemaking.”

Lankford is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. Regulatory reform and government efficiency has been a major priority for Lankford under his chairmanship.

Early Participation in Regulations Act of 2017 (S.579)

  • Requires agencies to publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for major rules in the Federal Register at least 90 days before it publishes its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, with a few exceptions. Currently, the Administrative Procedure Act does not require ANPRMs.
  • Requires agencies to hold the comment period open for 60 days and include a written statement with the ANPRM that identifies the significance of the problem the rule seeks to address, legal authority for writing the rule, and the specific desired measurement to determine success.
  • Subcommittee Democratic Ranking Member Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is a co-sponsor. This bill was also introduced by Lankford in 2016.

Better Evaluation of Science and Technology (BEST) Act (S.578)

  • Amends the Administrative Procedure Act to apply the same scientific standards found in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the entire federal government.
  • This bill is based on the Scientific Standards provision in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended TSCA.

Truth in Regulations Act of 2017 (S.580)

  • Attempts to end agency abuse of guidance documents (guidance directives) by clearly outlining what may and may not be included in guidance documents.
  • Requires agencies to seek notice and comment for all regulations issued under the “good cause” exception to the Administrative Procedure Act.

Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act of 2017 (S.577)

  • Requires agencies to provide a 100-word plain language summary with each general notice of proposed rulemaking.

Lankford was also joined by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jim Risch (R-ID) in introducing the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (S.584) today.