The OAL Petition Process

Today’s post is a continuation of my series on how to be a more effective regulatory agency advocate. Today’s podcast focuses on the OAL petition process. In other words, how lawmakers and the public can petition to repeal or change regulations.

Although the process is formal in nature, it is rather simple in its application. The petition process consists of a formal letter that requests an amendment to, or the repeal of, an existing regulation. The formal letter is directed towards the rulemaking entity that adopted and administers the particular regulation. The petition must identify the nature of the regulatory change or repeal that’s being requested, the reason or reasons that the petition is being requested, and the agency’s rulemaking power to either amend or repeal the particular regulation. The agency then has 30 days to respond to the petition.

Should the agency decide to consider amending or repealing the regulation, the agency will usually hold a public hearing where it will consider whether alternatives exist to address the identified situation via other means. In these hearings, the agency is interested in not only the petitioner’s comments, but also the comments of those who may be present and who are asked to provide verbal or written remarks.

Successful petitioners usually have written petitions that state clearly and concisely the substance or nature of the amendment or repeal being requested, and their reasons for their request. Supporting documentation, such as any technical or engineering studies – assuming the regulation is of a technical or scientific nature – is also helpful since the more thorough and persuasive the written petition, the more likely it is to be successful. Petitioners should also keep the OAL’s six standards of review – which we discussed last week – in mind when crafting their petition. Those standards are: necessity, authority, clarity, consistency, reference, and non-duplication.

Check back in next week when we’ll discuss APA exemptions.