February 22, 2016 1:30 pm

By, Elva Coffey-Sears

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, governmental agencies, including Federal financial regulators, publish semi-annual agendas each April and October. The fall agenda also includes a Regulatory Plan, which identifies regulatory priorities and additional information regarding expected activities for the coming year. The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda are published and maintained by the Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC). While the act does not preclude an agency from taking action on matters not included on the published agenda nor require the agency to take action on all included items, the Regulatory Plan and agenda can provide insights into your primary regulator’s focus for the year.

Agenda items are generally classified into one of the following five stages:

  • The prerule stage includes proposals that have not previously appeared in the Federal Register, which may include issues for which an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is published and/or regulation reviews. A Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) will be assigned to a Prerule agenda item to facilitate tracking and obtaining information, but in many cases, further information will not be available until the agency publishes a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM).
  • The proposed rule stage identifies those items for which the agency plans to issue an NPRM or those for which the comment period under the NPRM is coming to a close. Prior to the issuance of an NPRM, the proposal must be submitted to and reviewed and approved by the White House.
  • The final rule stage indicates that the agency is planning to publish a final rule or take some other form of final action regarding the issue. Other final actions include, but are not limited to, interim rules which are generally effective immediately but subject to a post-promulgation comment period and relate to rules for which agency had “good cause” to issue without NPRM, and direct final rules which are allowed for routine or noncontroversial matters, are published with an effective date but must be withdrawn if substantive adverse comments are received during the comment period.
  • Long-term actions may, at the agency’s option, be reported and represent activities planned to occur outside of the required 12-month reporting period. These are published in the current long-term actions, segregated from the current agenda.
  • Completed actions are also segregated from the current agenda and include issues that have been completed or withdrawn from the rulemaking cycle, including those that were started and completed within the current cycle.

To see what is on your regulatory agency’s agenda, go to www.reginfo.gov and select your regulatory agency.