Federal agencies issue all kinds of rules related to how they do their jobs. They don’t get to just make stuff up though – they have to give the public a chance to comment, usually within 30 or 60 days. For complicated or controversial rules, agencies sometimes make the public comment period even longer or will re-open the comment process after it has closed. Anyone can submit a comment online.
How do you find opportunities to submit a comment? Government agencies post their proposed rules in a publication called the Federal Register, which anyone can access online but most people don’t because — we’ll just level with you here — it’s really boring. The best way to learn about rules that might affect you are by:
- Signing up for newsletters from organizations that work on issues you care about
- Reading the news. When an article talks about a proposed rule, that’s your cue to check it out on the Federal Register website.
Once you’re done, why not get your friends in on the fun? Post what you wrote in your official comment on social media and encourage others to make their voices heard, too. Or if it’s an issue you feel really strongly about, personal calls or texts to friends asking them to get involved is the best way to move people to action.