Senator Farley Reports Governor Signs Law Encouraging Public Comments On Proposed Regulations

Hugh T. Farley

July 31, 2006

Governor Pataki has approved legislation sponsored by State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) and Assemblymember John J. McEneny (D - Albany) making it easier for citizens to comment on regulations proposed by State agencies. The new law will enable Internet users to submit their views about many proposed regulations with a single "click."

"Agency regulations affect us all," Senator Farley said, "since they implement the specific provisions of laws passed by the Legislature. Yet, because many regulations are complex and arcane, citizens are not always aware of their ability to offer comments. This new law adds transparency to the process, and will help State agency professionals to obtain more information from affected citizens."

"This new law will allow local governments as well as citizens and advocates to review State regulations before they go into effect," Assemblymember McEneny said. "Since all comments must be reviewed by the regulating agency, this law will greatly increase public input."

The State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) already requires State agencies to submit most proposed regulations for review by the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR) and to publish them in the official State Register. The State Register is available on the Internet, through the New York Department of State's website.

Under the new law, Internet users will be able to simply "click" on a "link" in the proposed regulation, and send comments simultaneously to GORR and to the agency proposing the regulation. This will make it easier for citizens to comment and will ensure that GORR, as well as the proposing agency, obtains the benefit of public input.

There is no cost to the new law, as its implementation simply involves use of a feature already included in the computer program used to publish the Internet version of the State Register. The law will take effect in ninety days.

Computers with access to the Internet are available at all local public libraries.