Management Tools: The Unified Agenda


According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), “a regulation is a general statement issued by an agency, board, or commission that has the force and effect of law”. Regulations, also known as rules, come into being through the rulemaking process. This process was designed to develop and issue rules and regulations and can lead to the issuance of a new rule, an amendment to an existing rule, or the repeal of an existing rule. Generally, the rulemaking process is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The FAA uses APA rulemaking procedures to adopt, amend, or repeal regulations.

So we know what regulations are and how they are created but how do we stay abreast of what is coming down the regulatory pipeline?

What’s the Agenda?

In an effort to promote transparency and open government, Section 4(b) of Executive Order 12866 requires government agencies to publish a regulatory and deregulatory agenda. The Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions is a semiannual compilation of information concerning regulations under development by federal agencies, and is published in the spring and fall. Agency agendas describe all regulations under development or review during the 12 months following publication of the agenda.

At a minimum, agencies such as the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration will submit plans to publish or otherwise implement an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), or a final rule. Agendas are available in both printed and on-line formats. The Unified Agenda may be viewed at and a print version can be found in the Federal Register.

How to Use this Information to Your Advantage

While paper copies of these documents are available, there are several websites available that will help you keep in front of regulatory issues that may have an impact on your business or flight department. The first table we’ll look at is the DOT Agency Rule List. You’ll notice that both the agenda as well as regulatory reviews may be accessed on the page depicted.

The agency rule list can be found on the Reginfo website. It presents a quick hotlist of the Department of Transportation (including the FAA) agenda and where each item is in the rulemaking process. Another source can be found on the website here. (see below)

If you look at the red arrows you can see that this is a regulation in the works proposed by the FAA. This subject could be a hotspot for part 135 operators and it would be something that you might want to voice an opinion on. By clicking on the RIN number above the second red arrow (2120-AK26) the hyperlink will open another page containing an abstract outlining the proposal.

Once an agency decides that a regulatory action is necessary or appropriate, it develops and typically publishes a proposed rule in the Federal Register, soliciting comments from the public on the regulatory proposal. This gives you the opportunity to voice your opinion and possibly influence the decision of the agency. It also allows you to follow the regulation through to the final ruling in order to prepare yourself to meet the requirements for compliance .

The DOT/FAA will consider the public feedback and may make changes if appropriate. They will then publish a final rule in the Federal Register with a specific date upon which the rule becomes effective and enforceable. When they issue a final rule, the agency will describe and respond to the public comments it received.

Other Resources

Here is a list of website resources to help you understand the rulemaking process and how to use the resources available to you. Save these pages to your favorites so that you can reference them easily.

The Informal Rulemaking Process

FAA Recently Published Rulemaking Documents FAQ’s

14 CFR Part 11 – General Rulemaking Procedures

Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings FAQ’s

For more information, you may also contact the Regulatory Information Service Center at 202-482-7340.

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