OIRA: Agencies must clarify, simplify regulations

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Agencies are now required to include brief, straightforward executive summaries at the beginning of all complex rules and regulations, says a Jan. 4 memo (.pdf) issued by Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's information and regulatory affairs office.

Executive summaries are to include separate descriptions of key provisions and policies, as well as a succinct statement of its legal basis and a table showing the costs and benefits of the rule. The new requirement fulfills instruction in Executive Order 13563 (.pdf) and OMB Circular A-4, the memo says.

"If people are being asked to comply with rules, they are entitled to have a clear sense of what they are being asked to do," wrote Sunstein in a Jan. 6 blog post.

The new requirement applies to both proposed and final rules. The memo includes a suggested template for executive summaries. Summaries should generally be no longer than "3-4 pages of a double-spaced Word document," although they could be longer if the regulation is "unusually complex or lengthy."

For more:
- download the memo (.pdf)
- see the OMB blog post

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