Chapter 1: How Standards Are Created

The Regulatory Process

The regulatory process is when the “muscle” gets put on the statutory “skeleton.” The licensure law that has been enacted sets the framework for the licensure program, but the regulations adopted by the board or state agency are the muscles that make the licensure law move and work. 

After the governor signs a bill passed by the legislature into law making it a statute, the board created in the law or the state agency indicated in the law must develop rules and regulations to implement the licensure program. Generally, where the statute is vague, the regulations create specific processes the licensure program must follow.

After the regulations are adopted, they, along with the statute authorizing the program, carry the force of law.  Regulations can include the qualifications an individual must meet in order to be licensed, how licenses are issued and renewed, how funds collected through licensure must be spent, due process that must be followed if someone is investigated for violating the law and penalties that can be assessed.

The Steps of the Regulatory Process

  1. Usually a rule-drafting meeting or workshop is held between the board or agency and stakeholders who may have an interest in the program.
  2. The board or agency drafts rules with input from legal counsel based on the information collected from stakeholder groups. A stakeholder group with significant interest in the issue may go as far as drafting the regulations and giving it to the board or agency as a working draft.
  3. After the draft is reviewed and finalized by the board or agency, it is published and posted for public comment and input. A notice will be published in the state’s administrative register, which is a periodic listing of all the proposed new regulations, proposed regulatory changes and other actions taken by state boards or agencies.
  4. The regulations are held open for public comment for a designated period (30 or 60 days). All submitted public comments are posted and available for review.
  5. After the public comment period closes, the board or agency will review submitted comments and select which to include or discard. The board or agency is not obligated to accept the suggestions or make changes, and many states address all submitted comments in the notice of adoption of the final rule.
  6. The revised rules are reviewed by legal counsel and published as a final rule with a specified effective date.

Each state’s particular Administrative Procedures Act and Regulatory Process can be found by researching the state’s government website or by contacting the agency making the rule or regulation directly.