Administrative Procedure Act

The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of the Federal government provides a basic framework for the rulemaking process in all federal states of the United States of America as enacted by the Congress. Although the rulemaking processes have been amended through various statutes in Arizona, APA serves as the basic legislative standards. Due to the rise of numerous federal agencies, the subsequent use of regulations is a commonplace in the formation of their rules as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Therefore both the Federal Government’s Administrative Procedures Act and the Arizona rulemaking process make “the bureaucracy” more accountable to the American people by ensuring that the newly enacted policies and rules are not only in accordance with the legislative standards of the rulemaking processes set by the Congress but also represents general public interests.

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The processes of rulemaking at the Federal Government and that of the Arizona are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act which outlines the general terms and procedures to be followed during the process of lawmaking.  Considering the sensitivity of the new rules to the general public, the Federal Government put adequate measures in place to ensure that various rules enacted by individual states and federal agencies like Arizona do not violate the supreme constitutional laws of the Congress. This constitutes the regulatory function of the Federal Government in the process of lawmaking as deeply entrenched in the Federal Act. The Arizona APA further safeguards the process of lawmaking within the state by involving other state organs like the court of law.

However, there is a big difference between the Administrative Procedures Act and the Federal Administrative Acts in terms of their mandate and specificity. As outlined separately in the two Acts, the Federal APA provides basic legislative standards that would offer general guidance to the processes of lawmaking and or public policymaking in all constituent states such as Arizona- a measure to ensure uniformity in the enforcement of Federal laws throughout U.S. Contrarily, the Arizona Administrative Procedures Act is highly specific in regard to the content, definition of rules, application of the rules, interpretations, exemptions, and elaborate procedures of the lawmaking depending on the existing regulations of the concerned agency.

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For instance the general definition of rule according to the Federal APA is given as:

[T]he whole or a part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or describing the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an agency . . .   (Federal APA 2010)

On the other side, the Arizona APA defines the same concept as follows:

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“Rule” means an agency statement of general applicability that implements, interprets or prescribes law or policy, or describes the procedure or practice requirements of an agency. Rule includes prescribing fees or the amendment or repeal of a prior rule but does not include intra-agency memoranda that are not delegation agreements” (ARS 17). 

It is quite imperative to note that the general public is not directly involved in rulemaking process at the Federal government but their representatives at the Congress do. Specific interests of the public do not take a centre stage during rulemaking at the Congress because Congress aims at enacting general rules that cater the wider interests of the Federal government. In sharp contrast, the public has a bigger role to play in the Arizona’s rule making process. As explained in the Arizona APA, the public must be involved in all the processes of rulemaking. This will ensure that the resultant rules represent the best interest of the nation Arizona.

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