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FTC opens rulemaking petition process

The Federal Trade Commission has announced it voted yesterday to make significant changes to enhance public participation the agency’s rulemaking, to increase public participation and accountability around the work of the FTC.

The Commission approved a series of changes to the FTC’s Rules of Practice designed to make it easier for members of the public to petition the agency for new rules or changes to existing rules that are administered by the Commission. The changes were described as a key part of the work of opening the FTC’s regulatory processes to public input and scrutiny. This is a departure from the previous practice, under which the Commission had no obligation to respond to or otherwise address petitions for agency action.

Among the changes are:

  • More clarity for those seeking to file petitions related to rulemaking with regard to information that is required with submissions, as well as guidance on the data that can be helpful to the Commission in evaluation petitions.
  • A new requirement that the Commission publish all petitions for rulemaking that it receives in the Federal Register and solicit public comment about those petitions.
  • A new requirement that the Commission provide petitioners with a specific point of contact in the agency, and that the Commission provide a response to petitioners on its decision to either act on or deny the petition.

In addition to formal rulemaking, the new changes will also apply to requests by certain parties for special exemption from FTC rules, as well as petitions related to industry guidance issued by the Commission.

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