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What the Unified Agenda Tells Us About Notice and Comment Rulemaking Open Access

Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report finding that federal agencies published about 35 percent of the major rules issued between 2003 and 2010 without seeking public comment through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). As Susan Dudley explained in a policy commentary on GAO’s report, “This means that a significant percentage of new regulations expected to have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy are given the force of law without public input. GAO finds a sharp increase in the practice of issuing a final regulation without first seeking public comment in 2009, when 40 percent of all major final rules were issued without notice and comment, compared to 26 percent in 2008.” Unfortunately, a look at the recently-released Unified Agenda indicates that this trend may be continuing, and that agencies may continue to regulate without seeking public comment.

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