The Rule Review Process: An Overview
RCW 34.05.610 to - .681)
Petition for Review Flow Chart and "Request for Review Suggested Format")
In 1981, the Legislature created the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee (often called "JARRC") for legislative oversight of executive agency rules and rulemaking. Committee jurisdiction and authority can be found in the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), RCW 34.05.610 - .681.
The Committee reviews proposed and existing agency rules to determine (1) whether the rules conform to the intent of the statute(s) they purport to implement; and (2) whether the rules will be or were adopted in accord with the procedural provisions of the law, including the APA. The Committee also reviews whether an agency is using a policy or interpretive statement in place of a rule.
The Committee is comprised of eight members: two members from each caucus in the Senate and two from each caucus in the House of Representatives. Each caucus may also designate an alternate member to serve in place of an absent appointed member. Chair and Vice-Chair appointments alternate in even-numbered years. The Committee is staffed by Senate Committee Services and House Office of Program Research.
The Committee's address is PO Box 40466, Olympia, WA 98504-0600. Telephone contact: Michael Lohnes, Legislative Assistant, 360-786-7167
The Committee follows a number of procedures, including the following:
- Nonpartisan staff from both Senate Committee Services and House Office of Program Research regularly review all emergency, proposed, and adopted administrative rules as they are filed with the Code Reviser's Office.
- Any citizen may submit a petition to the Committee for review of a proposed or existing rule or an agency guideline. If the Committee convenes a meeting or hearing to review a petition for review, staff will report on the administrative rule at issue and the issues raised by the petitioner. In most instances, the party requesting review is given an opportunity to speak on behalf of his or her petition. The affected agency is also given an opportunity to present on its rulemaking procedures and to respond to the issues raised by the petitioner.
- The Committee is required by statute to give written acknowledgment that it has received a petition for review within 30 days of receipt. The Committee is further required to issue a final determination letter within 90 days of receipt of a petition.
The Committee has three statutory adverse findings available to it by a majority vote of its members:
- That a proposed rule will not be or that an existing rule is not within the intent of the Legislature as expressed by the statute which the rule implements;
- That a proposed rule will not be or that an existing rule was not adopted in accord with all applicable provisions of the law, including the APA; or
- That an agency is using a policy or interpretive statement in place of a rule.
If the Committee makes an adverse finding, it must notify the affected agency of its objections and the reasons therefor. The agency must file notice of a hearing on the Committee's findings within 30 days of receiving the Committee's objections. The agency must notify the Committee of its intended action within seven days after the agency hearing.
If the Committee objects to the agency's intended action, it may, by a majority vote of its members, prepare and file a formal objection against the rule for publication in the next Washington Register and subsequent publication of Administrative Code.
The Committee may also, again by a majority vote of its members, recommend suspension of the rule to the Governor. The Governor must approve or disapprove the suspension within 30 days. If approved, the suspension remains in effect until 90 days after next legislative session.
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