A few weeks back I saw a Deseret News article that caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, I’m a parent and the article reported on a request for comments by the FCC to relax its current broadcast television decency standards. Second, I had just finished teaching a few classes on administrative law and here was an example of notice and comment in action. This request for comments, in fact, had received nearly 75,000 comments at the time of the article.
The news article linked to the Public Notice issued by the FCC on April 1, 2013. The news article, however, explains that this notice kicked off the 30 day comment period, which it says would end on April 30. This, however, is incorrect. The public notice states that the comment date runs until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The notice was not published in the Federal Register until April 19, 2013, meaning that the comment period does not end until May 20, 2013.
Comments can be made at the FCC’s website, but I also wanted to point out one of my favorite government websites, regulations.gov, which is a bit spiffier than the FCC’s site (although their new site looks promising). Regulations.gov is a great place to go if you’re looking for a notice or proposed rule on which you’d like to comment. Comments can be made right from the website. Some federal agencies do not participate in regulations.gov, but many do. Once you’re at the site it’s easy to do a search for something like egregious cases, which will get you to the FCC notice discussed above.
Once you’re there you can read the notice and click the “comment now!” button to comment.
If you’re just looking for notices and proposed regulations that are open for comment, the Advanced Search will allow you to narrow your search to those that are “open for comment,” as well as let you specify what agency you’re interested in. Regulations.gov is a great tool to allow you or your client to participate in the administrative process.