ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 157
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
June 5, 1995
I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the
authority vested in me by art. III, secs. 1 and 24, of the Alaska
Constitution, order all executive branch agencies to comply with
the directives set out in this Order regarding administrative
regulations, in order to accomplish the following objectives:
- achieve clear and concise language, and "plain English,"
in administrative regulations so that customers of state services
are better able to understand and comply with the regulations;
- promote a better relationship between the Legislature, executive
branch agencies, and the public that they serve;
- make the regulation-adoption process more accessible and
understandable to the general public;
- minimize the cost to the public of complying with state regulations;
and encourage state agencies to work with the regulated public
to meet the objectives of agency regulations.
1. Public notices regarding regulation changes, including
repeals of existing regulations, should include statements that
- what is being changed;
- how it is being changed; and
- why it is being changed.
2. In public notices regarding regulation changes:
- minimize the use of technical terms not generally understood
by the public;
- use "plain English" in describing the regulatory
- strive for clarity and clean, concise language;
- name a specific agency contact person for requesting information
about the regulation project, including information regarding
special accommodations for persons with a disability; and
- actively solicit comments from the affected public on the
cost of compliance with the proposed regulation.
3. When drafting regulations, each agency shall consider known
and potential costs to the public of complying with the regulations
and, to the extent possible, shall draft the regulations so as
to minimize those costs.
4. When preparing the public notice for regulation changes,
the adopting agency shall consider whether, because of the nature
and effect of the regulation changes, the agency should hold
one or more oral public hearings on the changes, in addition
to providing for written comments on the changes. In deciding
whether to hold oral hearings, the agency shall consider both
its budget and the possibility of using teleconferencing.
5. In determining an appropriate length of time for the public
comment period for a set of regulations, the adopting agency
- the special needs or concerns of those likely to be affected
by the regulations;
- whether the anticipated comment period is sufficient for
the public to obtain a copy of, review, and comment on the regulations;
- the urgency of the regulations project: and
- the overall time frame for the regulations project.
6. At the time of publishing a public notice regarding regulation
changes, each adopting agency shall provide for additional newspaper
or broadcast media press releases, or mailings to affected persons,
to the extent that action is economically feasible, in order
to ensure maximum public awareness of the agency action.
7. In maintaining mailing lists of persons interested in agency
regulations, each agency shall periodically review the lists
to ensure that, to the extent possible, the lists represent the
broadest spectrum of interested persons as well as persons likely
to be affected by the agency's regulations,
8. After a regulation change has been filed by the Lieutenant
Governor's Office, the adopting agency, to the extent economically
feasible, shall use newspaper or broadcast media press releases,
or mailings, to inform the public of the filing and impending
effective date of the regulation change.
9. To better respond to inquiries from the public regarding
regulations projects, each commissioner shall institute an internal
agency system for maintaining, in a centralized manner, current
information regarding pending agency regulations projects. As
part of such a system:
each commissioner shall designate a staff person within the
agency to serve as the general regulation information contact
person for that agency;
each commissioner shall direct agency staff to provide to
the contact person information necessary to develop and maintain
a current list of that agency's pending regulations projects;
at the time it opens a regulation file, the Department of
Law shall provide to the appropriate agency regulation conduct
person a copy of the fileopening information; and
each commissioner shall ensure that that agency's pending
regulation project list contains adequate and accurate information,
including a sufficient description of each project and the name
and phone number of the agency staff person who can provide more
specific information about the project.
10. Each adopting agency immediately shall submit a plan to
the Governor for a process of reviewing, in consultation with
the Department of Law, its existing regulations for the purpose
of identifying, within budget constraints, provisions to be amended
or repealed because:
- the provision contains confusing or unnecessarily technical
language; the use of "plain English" is the standard
that should be achieved whenever possible;
- the cost to the regulated public is excessive when compared
to the state's interest in or benefit from the particular requirement;
- the requirements of the provision are burdensome to the regulated
public and less burdensome requirements still would allow the
agency to carry out its statutory responsibilities.
11. The Department of Law shall, to the extent economically
feasible, provide, through its own staff or through others, training
to appropriate staff of executive branch agencies regarding:
- handling of public information requests regarding regulation
projects, including the requirements of the public records law;
- ways to improve the language of public notices regarding
regulation changes, so that the notices are more understandable
and meaningful to the public while still meeting legal requirements;
- ways to improve regulation writing, so that draft regulations
that are distributed to the public for comment are clearer, in
"plain English," and adequately and accurately describe
the agency's intent;
- the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act regarding
accommodations that might be required in order for persons with
a disability to be able to participate in the regulatory process;
- the requirements for collecting and seriously considering
all public comments received during the public comment period
for a regulation project.
12. Each commissioner shall take appropriate steps to ensure
that the agency focuses its efforts on educating and otherwise
working with the public so that the public is better able to
comply with regulatory requirements in a cost-effective manner
and avoid inadvertent noncompliance.
13. Each commissioner shall take appropriate steps to inform
federal agencies of state concerns in proposed federal regulations
and to suggest changes so that federal regulations are not overly
burdensome for Alaskans.
14. If state agencies have overlapping regulatory responsibilities
regarding business activities, the commissioners of those agencies
shall ensure that the agencies work together to achieve, to the
extent possible, regulatory requirements that avoid duplication
while facilitating compliance with statutory requirements.
This Order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska, this 5 day of June, 1995.