Federal Rulemaking FlowchartWhile Congress implements federal policy by enacting legislation, the Executive Branch has a rule making process to establish new rules or modifying existing rules.  A federal agency can initiate the rule making process to address a public need or policy issue under its jurisdiction.  Thus, the federal rule making process notifies the public and enables them to comment as an agency, like the Department of the Interior (DOI), considers prior to issuing a final rule.

Generally, a notification of a proposed rule is made in the Federal Register and the public has an opportunity to provide comments for a set period, those comments are reviewed by the initiating agency and then a final rule is developed based on the proposed rule and comments.  The initiating agency uses its discretion to determine whether subsequent drafts of the rule require additional public comment, and will determine when a rule is finalized.  Then, the final rule is published in the Federal Register.  Preliminary stages of rule making such as an Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making precede the development of a proposed rule or final rule, formally inviting the public’s comment that will be considered if and as the agency develops a proposed rule.

Proposed Rule on the Recognition of a Native Hawaiian Government

Last year, the Secretary of the Interior considered whether to propose a rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community, to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that community and the United States.  The DOI published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) entitled:  Procedures for Reestablishing a Formal Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community (RIN 1090-AB05), and received over 5,000 comments in the open comment period.  The DOI has decided to proceed with a proposed rule, which is currently under review.  Once the review is complete, the draft rule will be published and open for public comment.  The yellow box in the graphic above identifies where in the rulemaking process we will be once the draft rule is published.

For more detailed information regarding the rulemaking process, review the “Guide to the Rulemaking Process” prepared by the Office of the Federal Register.

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