There is one summary. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (12/18/1979)

Regulatory Flexibility and Administrative Reform Act of 1979 - Title I: The Management, Planning, and Analysis of Regulatory Functions - Defines the term "major rule" as an agency rule that is estimated will have an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more or otherwise will have a major impact.

Establishes the Regulatory Policy Board which shall: (1) publish a semiannual Calendar of Federal Regulations containing information on all major rules to be developed or considered by agencies during the next year; (2) identify overlapping and duplicative agency rules; (3) monitor agency compliance with this Title; (4) organize interagency reviews of selected initial regulatory analyses of major rules; and (5) develop methods to reduce duplicative reporting requirements imposed by Federal, State, and local governments.

Requires the Executive Director of such Board: (1) in consultation with the Director of the Federal Register, to develop categories for the classification of all agency rules; (2) to compile the classifications of rules which shall be submitted and updated annually by each agency into a comprehensive index of all agency rules; and (3) to publish in the Federal Register instructions for public access to such index.

Directs any agency which collects, prepares, or maintains information pertaining to Federal regulatory activities to supply the Board with such information upon request.

Requires each regulatory agency: (1) to publish in the Federal Register a semiannual regulatory agenda containing a list of rules the agency expects to propose or promulgate and a description of the areas of regulatory inquiry which the agency will consider during the next year; (2) to solicit public comment on such agenda; (3) to include in the notice of a rulemaking or judicatory proceeding the date by which the agency intends to complete such proceeding; and (4) to notify the public and the Executive Director of any failure to meet such a deadline, of the new completion date, and of the reasons for such a failure.

Directs an agency, whenever it is required to publish general notice of a proposed major rule, to prepare and make available to the public an initial regulatory analysis which: (1) describes the need for the rule; (2) describes compliance requirements of the rule; (3) identifies existing duplicative rules; (4) describes alternative approaches for accomplishing the objective of the proposed rule; and (5) describes the economic, health, safety, and environmental effects of the rule. Requires that each agency prepare for each adopted major rule a final regulatory analysis which includes a summary of public comments received on the initial analysis and a justification of the selection of the final rule.

Directs each agency to include in the general notice of any proposed rule an initial regulatory flexibility analysis which: (1) describes any adverse economic impact of the rule on individuals, small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions; and (2) discusses alternative regulatory approaches such as varying compliance requirements depending on the resources of the person affected by the rule. Requires each agency to prepare for each final rule a final regulatory flexibility analysis which summarizes comments received on the initial analysis and justifies the selection of the final rule. Specifies techniques through which the head of an agency promulgating a rule shall assure that persons adversely affected by the rule are provided an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking proceeding.

Prohibits any Federal agency from: (1) regulating or licensing entry under a scheme when such entry is limited; (2) setting levels for or otherwise controlling the prices, production, or distribution of goods or services; or (3) controlling the terms of agreements among providers and purchasers of goods or services, unless the agency finds such an action to be the least anticompetitive alternative for achieving a statutory goal. Specifies exceptions to the applicability of such prohibition. Requires each agency to establish procedures for notifying the Attorney General of any plans for such an action.

Requires each agency to prepare a list of all major rules promulgated by that agency and to publish in the Federal Register a draft schedule for the review over a five-year period of its rules, policies, and practices. Sets forth guidelines for selecting such precepts to review. Directs each agency to publish a final review schedule within one year of the effective date of this Act. Requires that each agency announce the review date for each major rule upon its publication. Requires each agency to publish an assessment of each precept reviewed including a statement of the benefits, adverse effects, costs of such precept, and a determination as to whether the precept should be rescinded, amended, or continued without change. Directs the President to transmit to Congress: (1) an evaluation of the effectiveness of this procedure for reviewing agency precepts; and (2) legislative recommendations for establishing another five-year review period.

Requires the Regulatory Policy Board to report to the President and Congress on the regulatory activities of Federal agencies during each of the five fiscal years after the enactment of this Act. Specifies the contents of such report, including an evaluation of agency compliance with this Act. Requires the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, for each of the first three fiscal years after enactment of this Act, to monitor agency compliance with regulatory analyses requirements of this Act.

Title II: Improving the Efficiency of Administrative Proceedings - Eliminates the exemption from public notice and comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act for agency rulemaking concerning Federal loans, grants, and benefits. Exempts from such requirements emergency rules and rules governed by short term statutory or judicial deadlines, provided that an agency complies with such requirements after publication of such a rule when appropriate.

Requires each agency: (1) to include in the general notice of proposed rulemaking statements soliciting alternative approaches to the regulatory objective and describing the paperwork requirements of the proposed rule; (2) to resolve controversies concerning proposed major rules through oral or written procedures including informal public hearings, expert advisory councils, and the presentation of witnesses; and (3) to include a response to issues raised by public comments with the statement of the basis and purpose of a final rule.

Requires each agency to maintain a file of information on each rulemaking proceeding. Specifies the contents of such file which include: (1) any information which the agency is required to make public; and (2) a record of the source, recipient, and content of any communication with an agency official regarding a proposed major rule.

Reorganizes provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act governing adjudication and rulemaking proceedings required by statute to be determined on the record after opportunity for an agency hearing. Declares that if the presiding employee at such a hearing becomes unavailable, another qualified employee shall conclude the hearing. Enumerates the powers of such a presiding employee. Authorizes such employee to cross-examine witnesses and to request the agency to consider and act on interlocutory appeals when action on such appeals would expedite final agency action. Directs such employee to: (1) oversee the expeditious completion of such hearing; and (2) provide a concise record of the important matters of the proceeding.

Provides two levels for conducting such adjudication and rulemaking proceedings. Establishes a "general hearing process" which applies to: (1) any rulemaking, ratemaking, or licensing proceeding except a proceeding to withdraw, suspend, or revoke a license or a proceeding before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; (2) a proceeding to determine an initial claim of a party, other than an individual, for a subsidy, right, or other benefit; and (3) any other proceeding which the agency determines does not require a "formal hearing" for a fair disclosure of all material facts. Requires a "formal hearing": (1) for all other proceedings required by statute to be determined on the record; and (2) when there is a genuine and substantial dispute of fact in a general hearing which cannot be resolved without formal cross-examination and upon which the decision of the agency is likely to depend.

Requires, in any general hearing proceeding, the conduct of a hearing to afford parties an opportunity to submit written data, and, at the request of any party, an opportunity for oral argument. Prohibits any agency employee who performs investigative or prosecuting functions for the agency in such a proceeding from participating in the decision making process of that proceeding.

Authorizes the presiding employee at a formal hearing to: (1) rule on offers of proof and relevant evidence; (2) require written testimony and arguments when oral testimony is not required; and (3) upon request, to issue a decision prior to completion of the hearing if there is no substantial dispute of fact.

Prohibits any employee presiding over a formal hearing or participating in any decision or review of a decision of such a hearing from: (1) making ex parte communications; or (2) being responsible to an employee or agent performing investigative or prosecuting functions for an agency. Allows: (1) members of employee boards of review to consult with each other; and (2) persons advising a presiding employee to consult with each other and with the presiding employee.

Authorizes each agency to establish employee review boards to review the decisions of presiding employees. Directs each agency to specify the conditions under which it will accept an appeal of the decision of such a board or presiding employee.

Authorizes an agency to subpoena any person or evidence as necessary in any general or formal hearing proceeding. Sets forth: (1) the civil penalty for persons who fail to comply with a subpoena; and (2) the judicial procedure for enforcement of such a subpoena.

Requires each agency to maintain a public file of significant material concerning the major stages of a proceeding.

Permits an action to be brought in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the review of an agency rule if there is no applicable special statutory review proceeding.

Requires the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States to recruit for administrative law judge positions among all groups of qualified persons. Directs the Chairman, in cooperation with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to examine, rank, certify, and register eligible candidates for such positions. Requires the Conference to certify the names of the ten highest ranked candidates to an agency requesting candidates for such a position.

Limits to 350 the number of administrative law judges which may be appointed to positions in the GS-16, GS-17, and GS-18 levels of the General Schedule.

Directs the Chairman to select administrative law judges to be detailed from one agency to another upon the consent of the transferring agency and the judge selected.

Establishes the Administrative Law Judge Career Service consisting of judges appointed under this Act.

Title III: Review of the Effectiveness of and Continuing Need for Government Regulation - Directs the President to establish a Committee on Regulatory Evaluation to advise the President concerning the reform of regulation by Federal agencies. Specifies the composition of the Committee and the compensation of Committee members. Requires the Committee to meet at least twice a year.

Directs Congress to evaluate according to a specified schedule the regulatory functions of certain agencies and any reform legislation or report transmitted by the President concerning each such agency.

Requires the Committee to examine each agency scheduled for review and to submit to the President any recommendations for legislation for reforming such agency. Directs the President, prior to the scheduled date for congressional review of an agency, to submit to Congress a report and any proposed legislation concerning the regulatory reform of that agency. Requires that such report: (1) examine the impact of each agency's regulatory activities; (2) compare the agency's regulatory policies to those of other agencies; and (3) explain in detail the proposed regulatory reforms or the reasons for not proposing a regulatory reform bill. Sets forth House and Senate procedure for considering such reform legislation.

Title IV: The Administrative Conference of the United States - Changes the term of office of the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States to a four year term which coincides with the term of the President. States that at least one-fourth of the members of the Conference appointed by the Chairman shall be representatives of regulated interests.

Directs the Conference to establish a Committee on Administrative Procedure to draft procedural rules for agency rulemaking proceedings and adjudications. Requires that such rules be designed to enhance public participation in agency proceedings.

Title V: Miscellaneous - Sets forth the effective dates for provisions of this Act.