Did You Know That Rule Changed?
by Jennifer L. Crull
Each year a plethora of rules are changed in the state of Iowa by the various agencies and boards, and we usually have no idea that something has changed until it affects us. The state of Iowa actually has created a Website (https://rules.iowa.gov) to help generate more input and information concerning administrative rules. This month’s issue of the IOWA TRANSPARENCY NEWSLETTER is going to focus on the features of this new Website and how it can help Iowans stay informed of changes that are coming their way.
Have you wondered about why state agencies must adopt new rules from time to time? There are three valid reasons that new rules must be proposed:
- To keep up with current state law.
- To make necessary changes to existing programs.
- To stay in compliance with federal rules and regulations.
Did you know that the rulemaking process in Iowa takes a minimum of 108 days? Also, did you know that there are four basic purposes that the administrative rules process serves? These and many other nuggets of information are able to be located on the Learn About Rules section of the Website. This section allows the reader to learn about the rule process in the state. There are resources listed to help the average citizen track proposed and adopted administrative rules. This section also deals with the petition, waiver, and appeals processes.
Another section called Open Notices lists all the administrative rules that are currently open for comment from the citizens of Iowa. As of July 1, 2015, there are 13 proposed administrative rule changes that people may comment on. They include the Revenue Department, Professional Licensure Division, Agriculture and Land Stewardship Department, Iowa Public Information Board, Natural Resource Commission, Educational Examiners Board, Labor Services Division, Racing and Gaming Commission, Dental Board, and College Student Aid Commission. I would find it hard to believe that one of these proposed rule changes doesn’t affect you in some way.
Once you click on a proposed administrative rule change, you have the ability to read the proposed changes. You then have the ability to click in the specific rule and comment, or you can make overall comments. Also, once you have the proposed rule open the Website states how many more days the proposed rule is open for comments. Chart One shows the flow of how an administrative rule comes into existence.
This Website enhances the transparency concerning the citizen comments of proposed rule changes. Additionally, when you have the proposed rule open, you will find information about the board or agency that has proposed the change, along with information about what department this board or agency is a part of.
This Website is part of the expansion of digital services that the state is providing, which help increase the level of transparency at the state level. This Website is part of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) (https://ocio.iowa.gov/). The OCIO Website states the following reasons for how it was created and why:
The Office of the Chief Information Officer was created as an independent agency and for the purpose of leading, directing, managing, coordinating, and providing accountability for the information technology resources of state government. The mission of the office is to provide high-quality, customer-focused information technology services and business solutions to government and to citizens. The office manages and directs the work of information technology staff, assigning information technology staff as required to support information technology requirements and initiatives of the office, and to review and recommend approval of information technology staff employment decisions in coordination with the [D]epartment of [M]anagement. The Chief Information Officer is appointed by the Governor to serve at the pleasure of the Governor and is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Senate File 396 was passed by the Iowa General Assembly and signed by the Governor to create the Office of the Chief Information Officer beginning July 1, 2013. Funding was established for the Office of the Chief Information Officer beginning July 1, 2014 at which time all personnel of the Department of Administrative Services Information Technology Enterprise were transferred into the OCIO. Iowa Code Chapter 8B grants the Office of the Chief Information Officer comprehensive duties and powers related to the coordination, direction, and authority for information technology in the executive branch of state government.
I find it exciting to see our state embrace technology to allow for better transparency at the state government level. I would encourage you to take the time to explore both sites and check out all the features that are available. The OCIO Website lists all the mobile apps that you can download that pertain to Iowa. So take the time to learn about your state and how government operations are having more “light shown” on their activities.
 Frequently Asked Questions, Admin Rules, <https://rules.iowa.gov/Info/Faq> accessed on June 10, 2015.
 Rulemaking Flowchart, Admin Rules, <https://rules.iowa.gov/info/rule-flowchart> accessed on June 10, 2015.
 A Sketch of the Rulemaking Process, Admin Rules, <https://rules.iowa.gov/Info/rulemaking-brief> accessed on June 10, 2015.
 Open Notices, Admin Rules, <https://rules.iowa.gov/Notice> accessed on June 10, 2015.
 Who We Are, Office of the Chief Information Officer, <https://ocio.iowa.gov/about-us/who-we-are> accessed on June 30, 2015.
IOWA TRANSPARENCY NEWSLETTER is a monthly newsletter reporting on government transparency in our state.
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