(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Raj Mukherji and Eliana Pintor Marin to make the process of crafting government regulations more transparent in New Jersey cleared the full Assembly on Thursday, 77-0.
The bill (A-2581) would require the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to maintain a public online database summarizing all state rulemaking actions. The searchable database would identify the number, nature and status of all pending or proposed government regulations put forth by a state agency.
“Improving the accountability and overall quality of government is contingent upon our ability to make it more transparent and accessible to New Jersey residents,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “This bill will facilitate transparency in our state and encourage civic engagement as we work to enact rules that will safeguard public health and safety.”
“While information regarding rulemaking actions is available on the OAL website, the overwhelming nature of its current format can deter everyday citizens,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “Providing access to a description of the potential social and economic implications of regulations on an easy-to-read site will help more New Jersey residents better understand how government policies may affect their families and their communities directly.”
The legislation would require the database to include a summary description of each rulemaking action containing the following: (1) the title or subject matter of the action; (2) the state agency responsible for the action; (3) the associated regulation identification number, if applicable; (4) the anticipated impact on the State as well as any specific parties the action is expected to affect; (5) the legal authority for the action; (6) the date on which the action was initiated; (7) the legal deadline for the action, if applicable; (8) the factors necessitating the action; and (9) a timetable showing the history of the action.
The database described in the legislation would mirror a similar federal database maintained by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.
Under the bill, the OAL may require each agency to provide the information to be included in the database summary description in association with any notice of proposed rulemaking submitted by the agency prior to, on or after, the effective date of the bill.
The measure was released by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee on Thursday, Oct. 2.