Stage 9: The Law is Implemented and Enforced
The legislative process does not stop once a bill becomes law. Many laws must be put into effect, or implemented, by an agency of the executive branch. Through a delegation of his authority, the President makes an agency responsible for implementing the law. The agency then can issue administrative regulations explaining how it intends to put the law into effect and/or what a citizen must do to comply with the law.
Not surprisingly, the political agenda of the Administration influences this process, particularly when Congress is controlled by a different party than that of the executive branch. The President, as head of the executive branch, is not required to implement any law; one way to slow the process of implementation is not to promulgate regulations.
The regulatory process is fairly straightforward compared to the legislative process. It is governed by one law, the "Administrative Procedure Act of 1946", and there is only one official source in which all phases of the regulatory process are reported the daily Federal Register. There are many steps along the regulatory process.
- An agency can, but is not required to, issue an "advance notice of proposed rule making" (ANPRM), discussing its intention to issue a regulation. This discussion may include a general summary of the agency's proposal, but will not include specific language.
- Following the advance notice or as a first step in the regulatory promulgation process, an agency then publishes a "notice of proposed rule making" (NPRM), containing the proposed rule and requesting comments.
- After reviewing the comments received, the agency may, but is not required to, issue a "final rule making". The preamble to the final rule in the Federal Register often includes a summary or analysis of the comments received during the comment period.
Regulations in effect are codified annually and issued quarterly in the subject-organized Code of Federal Regulations available on ProQuest® Congressional.