Rules Process Frequently Asked Questions
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Office of Professional Practices

Rules Process Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is rule making?
  2. Is there a program within OSPI that coordinates rule making for the agency?
  3. What is a WAC?
  4. What do the WAC numbers mean?
  5. What is a RCW?
  6. What do the RCW numbers mean?
  7. What is the statutory authority?
  8. Where can I get copies of OSPI's final (codified) WACs and RCWs
  9. What are the major steps in the rule-making process?
  10. How long does it take from the time a rule is proposed (CR-102 form) until it becomes final (CR-103 form)?
  11. Who do I call for information about a proposed rule?
  12. Where can I get copies of OSPI's Proposed WACs?
  13. When can I offer input or comments on a proposed rule?
  14. Any tips on how to comment effectively?
  15. How do I submit my comments to OSPI?
  16. When is the formal comment period?
  17. How will I know if and how OSPI has addressed my comments?
  18. What is the difference between a permanent rule and an emergency rule?
  19. What if I have an idea about how to make an existing rule better or a suggestion for a new rule?

  1. What is rule making?
    All state rule making is guided by the Washington State Legislature through a Law known as the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), Chapter 34.05 RCW. All state agencies, counties, municipalities and other jurisdictions are required to adhere to the requirements of the APA.

  1. Is there a program within OSPI that coordinates rule making for the agency?
    Yes, the Administrative Resource Services office coordinates all OSPI rule making.  (360) 725-6136

  1. What is a WAC?
    WAC stands for Washington Administrative Code. WACs are administrative codes, or rules, that are adopted by agencies, including OSPI, to enact legislation and RCWs.  The Washington Administrative Code contains all rules that have been adopted, as well as the history of all previously existing WACs and amendments in Washington. OSPI rules are found under Title 392 WAC and the State Board of Education's rules are found under Title 180 WAC.

  1. What do the WAC numbers mean?
    392-101-001
    “392” This is the Title number.  OSPI rules are found under Title 392. “101” (Written as Chapter 392-101 WAC) This number represents a chapter within a given title. “001” (written as WAC 392-101-001) This number represents a section within the chapter.

  1. What is a RCW?
    RCW stands for Revised Code of Washington.  An RCW, or law, is the result of legislation that has been passed by the House and Senate and has been signed by the Governor.  The Revised Code of Washington contains all laws that have been adopted in the State of Washington, as well as a history of all laws that have previously existed or been amended.  The education laws are found in RCW 28A.

  1. What do the RCW numbers mean?
    28A.300.040
    “28A” This is the Title number.  “300” (Written as Chapter 28A.300 RCW) This number represents a chapter within a given title “040” (written as RCW 28A.300.040) This number represents a section within the chapter.

  1. What is the statutory authority?
    The statutory authority for a rule is the permission given to an agency to write and adopt a rule on a particular subject. Each time a rule is adopted or amended the statutory authority paragraph is updated by the Office of the Code Reviser

    Below is an example of a statutory authority paragraph for 392-101-005:

    Statutory Authority: RCW 34.05.220 [(1)](a).  89-23-001 (Order 15), § 392-101-005, filed 11/2/89, effective 12/3/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 34.04.020. 83-17-057 (Order 83-5), § 392-101-005, filed 8/17/83; Order 7-75), § 392-100-005, filed 12/22/75.]

  1. Where can I get copies of OSPI's Final (Codified) WACs and RCWs?
    • OSPI Laws and Rules Web Site:

    You can download laws administered by OSPI from the Laws and Rules web site under the Index of Laws.  OSPI administered WACs can also be downloaded under the Index of Rules.

    • OSPI Public Records Office:

    You may request a printed copy of OSPI related WACs and RCWs through the Department of OSPI Public Records Office using any of the following options:

    Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
    Administrative Resource Services
    Attn: Sherri Jenkins, Public Records Officer
    PO Box 47200
    Olympia, WA 98504-7200

    • The Washington Code Reviser’s Office:

    The Washington Office of the Code Reviser manages the Washington Administrative Code.  If you call their office you can request that they mail or e-mail a specific WAC or set of WAC’s that you may need. 

    For ordering information contact the Code Reviser’s Office Toll-Free 1-866-650-6369 (There may be a fee to receive printed copies of rules.)

  1. What are the major steps in the rule-making process?
    When proposing a rule, those involved often refer to the steps in the process in terms of the rule-making forms agencies must file with the Office of the Code Reviser.

    In order to help you understand the different steps and forms, below is an explanation of each step of the process.

    • The first major step is the filing of the Pre-Proposal Statement of Inquiry (also called the CR-101 form):

    When the CR-101 form is filed, notice is provided to the public that the agency is considering developing a new rule, amending an existing rule, or repealing an entire rule or sections of a rule. 

    • The second major step is the filing of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (also called the CR-102 form): The CR-102 form can not be filed until 30 days after the CR-101 form has been published in the Washington State Register.  After this 30 day period an agency can file a CR-102 form at any time.

    The CR-102 announces to the public that a change to an OSPI rule is being proposed.  Included on this form is a brief description of the rule, the associated WAC number, a copy of the proposed rule text, as well as the date, time, and location of the public hearing(s), the deadline to submit comments, and the process for submitting comments. If appropriate, a Small Business Economic Impact Statement (SBEIS) is filed with this notice.  

    • The last step is the filing of the Rule-making Order (also called the CR-103 form): The CR-103 form can not be filed until on or after the intended adoption date identified on the CR-102 form (Expedited and Emergency rules are exceptions).  The maximum time allowed between the publication of the CR-102 form and the filing of a CR-103 form is 180 days. If this deadline is not met the rule making is withdrawn.

    The CR-103 form is used to adopt into WAC the proposed rule text that was filed using the CR-102 form.  When the CR-103 form is signed by the Agency Director the rule is adopted. Usually, unless specified otherwise, a rule becomes effective 31 days after filing. 

  1. How long does it take from the time a rule is proposed (CR-102 form) until it becomes final (CR-103 form)?
    A rule can become final between 28 days after filing the CR-102 form and 180 days of the publication of the CR-102 form.  No rule can be adopted before the intended adoption date identified on the CR-102.  Those rules that are not finalized within 180 days after the publication of the CR-102 form are withdrawn from the process and can no longer be adopted without filing a new CR-102 form.

    There are two exceptions to this time frame:

    1. Emergency rulesare filed using the CR-103 form.  In most situations they become effective immediately.
    2. Expedited rules are filed using an expedited process.  Once the rule is proposed there is a 45 day period before the rule can be adopted.  On the 46th day, or any day after that, the rule can be adopted and usually becomes effective 31 days later.

  1. Where can I get copies of OSPI's Proposed WACs?
    There are several ways that you can receive copies of rules that are being proposed.

    • OSPI Laws and Rules Web Site:

    The Index of Current Rule-making Activity on the Laws and Rules Web site provides a list of rules that have initiated rule-making with the filing of a CR-101.

    • Contacting OSPI:

    One way that you can receive information relating to a proposed rule is to contact the program that is overseeing the rule-making activity.  Contact information is provided on the CR-102 form. 

    In cases where Expedited or Emergency Rule Making has been used, please contact the Agency Rules Coordinator, Catherine Slagle, (360) 725-6136.

    • The Washington Office of the Code Reviser provides you with the following option:

    The Washington State Register is a biweekly publication distributed, by the Office of the Code Reviser, on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The Register contains the state agencies' pre-proposals, notices of proposed rules, emergency and permanently adopted rules, public meetings, requests for public input, notices of rules review, executive orders of the Governor, Court rules, summary of Attorney General Opinions, and Juvenile Disposition Standards. (Note: exceptionally lengthy rules are not printed in the Washington State Register.) 

    For ordering information contact the Code Reviser’s Office Toll-Free 1-866-650-6369 (There may be a fee to receive printed copies of rules.)

  1. Who do I call for information about a proposed rule?

When a CR-102 form is filed, contact information related to that specific rule making is provided.

For rules that are being proposed, amended, or repealed using the Expedited or Emergency process you should contact the Agency Rules Coordinator, Catherine Slagle at (360) 725-6136.

  1. When can I offer input or comments on a proposed rule?

OSPI offers several formal and informal ways to provide input or comments on proposed rules. 

  • Input from the public is accepted by OSPI throughout the rule-making process.  These often include public workshops, participation on advisory committees, subscriptions to Listservs and newsletters, and public hearings.  However, the formal comment period begins with the publication of the CR-102 form in the Washington State Register. Only comments received during the formal comment period will appear in the Concise Explanatory Statement.
  • Written and verbal comments are accepted at the public hearing(s) on the proposed rule. Information about the location, date, and time of the public hearing(s) is provided on the CR-102 form. Information about public hearings can also be downloaded from the Laws and Rules Web Site.
  • After close of the comment period, OSPI prepares the Concise Explanatory Statement. This is a document responding to all comments that OSPI received during the formal comment period.  This document can be organized in several formats.  Two of the most common are providing a response to each individual comment, or dividing the comments received into similar categories and then writing responses to the categories indicating which comments belonged in a given category.
  1. Any tips on how to comment effectively?

Be sure to explain why you disagree or agree.  Identify who you are and how or why the rule affects you.  Be direct in your comment.  It is particularly useful to offer alternatives, compromise solutions, and specific language for your suggested changes.  Type your comments, if possible.  Indicate the specific rule making involved and refer to the WAC number listed on all rule-making documents.  Be sure to include your name and address. 

  1. How do I submit my comments to OSPI?

OSPI will accept comments in a variety of formats. Information about the contact person for submitting comments is on the CR-102 form.  Below describes the four ways that comments can be submitted and the process associated with each: 


Written Comments:
  • Written comments must be postmarked no later than the final day of the formal comment period.

Verbal Comments:

  • Verbal comments can be offered at the public hearing(s).  Verbal comments are entered into a formal hearing transcript. 

Faxed Comments:

  • Comments submitted by facsimile, must arrive no later than the final day of the formal comment period.

E-mail Comments:

  • Comments sent via e-mail should include the comments in the body of the e-mail or as a Word-compatible file. They should be sent no later than the final day of the formal comment period.

TDD:

  • The number for TDD is (360) 664-3631 or (360) 725-6271. Please include your name and address, the name of the OSPI contact person, and the WAC number that you are commenting on when submitting comments using this service.  Comments must arrive no later than the final day of the formal comment period.

  1. When is the formal comment period?

The formal comment period is between the publication of the CR-102 form in the Washington State Register and the date indicated as the end of the comment period on the CR-102 form.

  1. How will I know if and how OSPI has addressed my comments?

If you submitted written or oral comments to OSPI, during the formal comment period, prior to the agency filing an adopted rule with the code reviser, a copy of the Concise Explanatory Statement will be prepared. This statement will summarize all comments received regarding the proposed rules, and responding to the comments by category or subject matter, indicating how the final rule reflects agency consideration of the comments, or why it fails to do so. This will be done in accordance with RCW 34.05.

  1. What is the difference between a permanent rule and an emergency rule?

OSPI uses Emergency rules when a situation arises where a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare.  Emergency rules are enforceable for a period of 120 days.

Emergency rules are typically used by OSPI in two ways. 

  1. One reason OSPI would adopt an Emergency Rule is to respond to a situation that puts the public health, safety, or general welfare at risk for only a short period of time.  In these cases once the situation goes away the emergency rule is no longer needed. 
  2. The second reason that OSPI would adopt an Emergency Rule is to offer an immediate response to a permanent situation that puts the public health, safety or welfare at risk.
  3. In these situations a permanent rule is necessary, but in order to respond quickly, OSPI adopts an Emergency Rule.  While the emergency rule is being enforced the agency is able to coordinate the effort to adopt a permanent rule using the standard rule-making process.
  1. What if I have an idea about how to make an existing rule better or a suggestion for a new rule?
  2. OSPI would like to hear your ideas about improving existing rules, or topics that you feel should be addressed in permanent rules.  Please contact the Agency Rules Coordinator to discuss these suggestions.

    Catherine Slagle
    Agency Rule Coordinator
    P.O. Box 47200
    Olympia, WA 98504-7200
    (360) 725-6136

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Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
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