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Understanding administrative rule making in the Buckeye State

A few weeks back, our blog spent some time discussing what exactly administrative law encompasses and how, unbeknownst to most, this area of the law affects so many important aspects of their personal and professional lives.

In keeping with this theme, today's post will start taking a closer look at the complex administrative rule making process here in Ohio, shedding some much-needed light on how it is that agencies like the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency adopt their seemingly byzantine regulations.

When statutes addressing technically complex matters are passed by the General Assembly, they invariably contain language leaving their implementation to a particular administrative agency.

This makes sense, of course, as agency officials have the unique combination of education, experience and skill needed to understand otherwise arcane issues and properly implement the necessary provisions.  

One of the ways in which state lawmakers delegate these matters to a state agency is by inserting language in the statute directing it to create or adopt rules, meaning formal written statements that, if implemented correctly, are essentially afforded the same legal authority as the statutes from which they are derived.

By way of a hypothetical example, consider a statute passed by the General Assembly calling for special permits to be issued to anyone looking to connect a particular property into existing sanitary sewers. Here, lawmakers would very likely include language in this theoretical statute directing the Ohio EPA to adopt a rule establishing the criteria that must be satisfied in order for such a special permit to be issued.   

We'll continue this discussion in future posts, examining the process by which an administrative rule becomes law under the Ohio Administrative Procedure Act.

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can provide answers and pursue solutions if you have any questions or concerns relating to an administrative law matter.

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