WSDA Rule Making Process


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WSDA Rule Making Process

To adopt rules - also known as Washington Administrative Code, regulations, or "WAC" - all Washington State agencies must follow steps that are described in the Administrative Procedure Act, or "APA." All WSDA rules may be found in Title 16 WAC. 


Regular rule making steps in the APA include:

  • Preparing a CR-101 preproposal statement of inquiry: This is the first official notice needed to start most rule making actions. The CR-101 announces that WSDA is planning to write rules on a particular subject and invites the public and interested parties to take part in the rule making process.
  • Publishing and mailing notices: The CR-101 and all "CR" notices described below are published in the Washington State Register (WSR). WSDA mails or e-mails these notices to anyone who has asked to receive WSDA rule making information and to those parties interested in the subject matter of the particular rule making action. 
  • Drafting rules: WSDA uses a variety of methods to involve the public and interested parties in the rule drafting process. We often use advisory committees and ad hoc committees to help us write rule language. We also use surveys to solicit information and circulate working rule drafts to interested people and groups for review and comment. Depending upon the complexity of the rule and the diversity of interests, the rule drafting process can take a few months to a couple of years to complete. Some rules require that WSDA prepare financial analyses to determine the economic impact of the proposed rule. A Small Business Economic Impact Statement may be prepared if the proposed rules add new compliance costs for businesses that are "more than minor."
  • Filing a CR-102 Proposed rule making notice: This notice gives details about the proposed permanent rules that WSDA plans to adopt, who may be affected by the rules, and includes full text of the proposed rule language. The CR-102 gives the date, time and place of the public hearing(s) and instructions for sending written comments about the proposed rules to WSDA. 
  • Accepting public comments: Anyone may go to public hearings to testify about WSDA proposed permanent rules, offer written comments, or just listen. WSDA hearings are held around the state depending upon the rule's subject matter. For those who can't attend a hearing, sending written comments is just as effective.
  • Filing a CR-103 rule making order to adopt the permanent rule: This is the last step in the rule making process. The CR-103 notice includes the full text of the rule being adopted, and lets the public know when the rules will become effective. 

Other possible rule making actions in the Administrative Procedure Act:

  • Expedited rule making: This shortened process allows WSDA, in very limited circumstances, to adopt or repeal a rule without a public hearing or public comment period. A CR-105 expedited rule making notice and the full text of the proposed rule are published in the WSR. The public has 45 days from the date of publication in the WSR to file written objections to the expedited process with WSDA. If no one objects during this period, WSDA may adopt the rule by issuing a CR-103 rule making order. If some one objects to the expedited process, WSDA must use the regular rule making process, which includes a public hearing, to adopt the rule.
  • Emergency rules: Sometimes WSDA adopts temporary emergency rules if rules are needed to prevent a threat to public safety, health or welfare, or if WSDA must meet an immediate deadline imposed by a state or federal law, a federal rule or a court decision. Emergency rules are effective immediately when filed with the Code Reviser. An emergency rule is effective for up to 120 days and may be extended in certain circumstances. An emergency rule can't become permanent unless the regular rule making steps described above are followed. 
  • Rulemaking petition: Anyone may petition WSDA to adopt, amend or repeal a rule, by sending a letter to the Director of the WSDA. WSDA has 60 days to either reject the petition, or accept it. If the request is accepted, WSDA will start the regular rule making process.