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How to Be Involved in the Rulemaking Process

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Stay Informed

To be added to DTSC's mailing list to receive information on specific rulemakings or all proposed rulemakings, you can subscribe to the All Regulations E-Lists.  You can also join E-Lists for specific rulemaking activities.  If you require assistance with this, e-mail regs@dtsc.ca.gov.   Please provide your name, organization (if applicable), address and whether you want to be placed on the All Regulations E-Lists or a specific rulemaking E-Lists.  It is also helpful to provide your phone number so that we can call if we have questions concerning your request.  Everyone on the All Regulations E-Lists receives every 45-day public notice; however subsequent 15-day notices will only be sent to those who have requested to be placed on the list for a specific rulemaking.

We continue to maintain a physical mailing list, but recommend that you use the E-Lists, as it minimizes the environmental impact of mailings.  To be placed on the physical mailing list, you may contact us as stated above, and indicate that you want physical mailings.


Participate in the Process

Public involvement may begin with informal workshops held prior to the formal public notice of the initial 45-day public comment period.  Everyone who is on the "All Rules” mailing list will be notified in advance of the public comment period.  DTSC’s policy is to hold a public hearing before the end of the 45-day public comment period.

Normal rulemaking process overview

Exceptions to the normal rulemaking process

There are four ways to change the California Code of Regulations without going through the normal public notice and hearing process.  They include:

  1. Emergency Regulation
  2. Section 100 (or Nonsubstantive changes, or Changes without regulatory effect)
  3. Print Only
  4. Office of Administrative Law Repeal for Inoperative Regs
Emergency
Emergencies must be either demonstrable or statutory in order to go through the emergency rulemaking process (Government Code section 11346.1(b)). When DTSC submits an emergency regulation to OAL, the public notice is placed on the Office’s Emergency Regulations page. The public has five calendar days to submit comments to OAL on the emergency regulation after DTSC has submitted the regulation to the Office (California Code of Regulations Title 1, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 55).  These comments must be in writing, received prior to OAL’s decision, must identify the emergency topic, and must be copied to DTSC.  DTSC may or may not respond to emergency comments.

Section 100
California Code of Regulations, Title 1, Section 100 allows for changes without regulatory effect.  This is defined as any change which "does not materially alter any requirement, right, responsibility, condition, prescription or other regulatory element of any California Code of Regulations provision," including

  1. Renumbering, relocating
  2. Repeals
  3. Final court judgment invalidating a regulation
  4. Syntax/cross-referencing/grammar/punctuation
  5. Authority and/or reference citations
  6. Conforming to mandated statutory language (i.e. any change to California regulations to ensure conformity to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (see Health & Safety Code section 25159.1)).

In these cases, no public comment period exists.


Print Only
These are used only in two circumstances, neither requiring public notice:

  1. If the regulations are expressly exempt by statute from OAL review.
  2. If the regulations are not required to be filed with the Secretary of State because the regulations are expressly exempted by statute, but the agency seeks printing in the California Code of Regulations per Government Code section 11343.8.
Office of Administrative Law Repeal for Inoperative Regulations
If a regulation’s statutory authority is repealed, becomes ineffective or inoperative, the regulation will be also be repealed, without public notice (Government Code section 11349.8).

Comment Effectively

Public Hearings
DTSC normally holds a public hearing about 45 days after DTSC mails the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and publishes it in the California Regulatory Notice Register.  DTSC accepts written and oral comments at all public hearings. DTSC encourages you to submit your comments in writing because they are generally more concise and less open to misinterpretation.  DTSC generally records the hearing on audio tape, but does not transcribe that tape; rather, DTSC uses the tape for reference should the hearing officer’s notes be incomplete.  The public hearing is an opportunity for the public to comment on regulations, not to debate the issues. DTSC generally holds hearings at 1001 I Street in Sacramento.

Public Comments
E-mail your comments to regs@dtsc.ca.gov, or send by U.S. postal mail to 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 806, Sacramento, CA 95812-0806 or by fax to (916) 324-1808.

Tips to making effective comments:

  1. Submit your comments during the public comment period.
  2. Direct your comments at the proposed action or rulemaking procedures followed.
  3. Provide alternatives to the proposed actions, supported by documentation consisting of facts (in the form of reports, studies, publications, etc), expert opinion based on facts, or reasonable assumptions based on facts.  These can include an analysis of economic impacts, especially those which DTSC has not addressed.

Any business or person submitting a comment regarding a proposed action has the right to request a copy of the final Statement of Reasons.

DTSC rulemaking files are open to the public for review.  Due to enhanced security precautions at the Cal/EPA Headquarters Building, located at 1001 I Street, Sacramento, all visitors are required to sign in prior to viewing any files.  Sign-in and badge issuance occur in the Visitor and Environmental Services Center during normal business hours.  This center is located just inside and to the left of the building’s public entrance.  Depending on their destination and the building security level, visitors may be asked to show valid picture identification.  Valid picture identification can take the form of a current driver’s license, military identification card, or state or federal identification cards.  Depending on the size and number of meetings scheduled on any given day, the security check-in could take from three to fifteen minutes.  Contact the Office of Policy at (916) 322-5225 for access to the records area.  DTSC allows onsite photocopying of all public records free of charge.


Draft a Petition for Rulemaking

DTSC welcomes petitions for the adoption, amendment, or repeal of regulations as provided by Government Code section 11340.6. Petitioners are simply required to state the following clearly and concisely:

  1. The substance or nature of the regulation, amendment, or repeal requested.
  2. The reason for the request.
  3. DTSC's legal authority to take the action requested.
Send petitions via e-mail to regs@dtsc.ca.gov or you can send your petition by U.S. mail to Regulations Coordinator, 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 806, Sacramento, CA 95812-0806. Additional information on how to file a petition can be found on the Office of Administrative Law’s (OAL’s) Internet site at http://www.oal.ca.gov/.

Draft a Petition for Underground Regulations

With few exceptions, state agencies are required to adopt regulations to enforce or implement the laws they administer. These regulations must be adopted through procedures established by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which begins at section 11340 of the California Government Code. On occasion, an agency may attempt to enforce a rule which it did not adopt formally. Such a rule is called an “underground regulation.” Section 11340.5 of the Government Code makes it illegal for a state agency to use an underground regulation.

According to OAL instructions, filing a petition with them may not be the most effective way to approach your problem. Their guidance suggests, "working within the agency in question may be much more effective at resolving your issue than filing a petition with OAL...Using these procedures may be more effective and efficient than preparing and filing a petition with OAL." We agree, and welcome informal petitions on any alleged underground regulations, as defined by California Code of Regulations, title 1, section 250, that DTSC has issued, used, enforced or attempted to enforce. It is recommended that petitioners include the following:

  1. A written copy of the purported underground regulation, or if unavailable, a complete description of the particular underground regulation.If the purported underground regulation is found in an agency manual, it would be helpful to identify the specific provisions alleged to be underground regulations.    
  2. The reason you believe the guideline, criterion, bulletin, provision in a manual, instruction, order, standard of general application, or other rule or procedure is a regulation as defined in Section 11342.600 of the Government Code and that no express statutory exemption to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act is applicable.

Please send petitions via e-mail to regs@dtsc.ca.gov or you can send your petition by U.S. mail to Regulations Coordinator, 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 806, Sacramento, CA 95812-0806.

Petitioners who still wish to file a petition with OAL are required to include the following with any such petition:

  1. The name and contact information of the petitioner.
  2. The name of the agency that has allegedly issued, used, enforced, or attempted to enforce an underground regulation.
  3. A complete description of the particular underground regulation and a written copy of the purported underground regulation. If the purported underground regulation is found in an agency manual, the petition shall identify the specific provision of the manual alleged to comprise the underground regulation.
  4. A description of the actions of the agency showing that it has issued, used, enforced, or attempted to enforce the underground regulation.
  5. The legal basis for concluding that the guideline, criterion, bulletin, provision in a manual, instruction, order, standard of general application, or other rule or procedure is a regulation as defined in Section 11342.600 of the Government Code and that no express statutory exemption to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act is applicable.
  6. Information demonstrating that the petition raises an issue of considerable public importance requiring prompt resolution.
  7. The petitioner’s certification that the petitioner has submitted a copy of the petition and all attachments to the agency, including the name, address, and telephone number of the person to whom the copy was submitted.

You must send the petition to OAL either by U.S. Mail, or hand-delivery. The address is Office of Administrative Law, 300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1250, Sacramento, CA 95814, Attention: Chapter 2 Compliance Unit. Additionally, you must send a copy of the petition and its attachments to the agency. You may send this copy via e-mail to the Regulations Coordinator, Office of Policy, at regs@dtsc.ca.gov or you can hand deliver it or you can send your petition by U.S. postal mail to 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 806, Sacramento, CA 95812-0806. The Regulations Coordinator's phone number is (916) 322-5225. Additional information on how to file a petition can be found on OAL’s Internet site at http://www.oal.ca.gov/.


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