Room with review

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Is your briefcase feeling lighter? That’s because your dog-eared copy of Volume 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations (where most FTC rules and guides live) is decidedly thinner these days. For the past two decades, the agency has undertaken a systematic review of its rules and guides to make sure they’re up to date, effective, and not overly burdensome. As each rule comes up for review, we ask ourselves — and you — four questions:

  • What’s the economic impact of the rule?
  • Do we still need it?
  • Are there possible conflicts with other federal or state regs or laws?
  • Has the rule been affected by changes — technological, economic, or otherwise?

During recent Congressional testimony, Chairman Leibowitz and Commissioner Kovacic announced steps the agency is taking to enhance the review process already in place. One resource you’ll want to bookmark is the FTC’s new Regulatory Review page. Stroll around and here’s what you’ll find:

An updated 10-year schedule of rules and guides going under the microscope next. Based on changes in the marketplace, the Commission announced it will accelerate some reviews. Will your industry be affected?

A handy calendar of rules and guides currently under review. The site includes upcoming deadlines for comments and links to comments that have been filed. For your planning purposes, you’ll also get a sneak preview of the reviews that are just around the corner.

A list of rules and guides previously eliminated through the regulatory review process. History buffs will appreciate this excursion in the Wayback Machine. If the Jeopardy answer is “Transistor radios, fiberglass curtains, wall paneling, and fallout shelters,” the correct question is "What are four rules and guides the FTC has rescinded through its regulatory review process?" (The judges have conferred, and they’ll also accept "Name four things in my basement.")

The Commission also announced that it’s seeking your input on the operation of its regulatory review process. File comments online by September 6, 2011.

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