REGULATORY INFORMATION SERVICE CENTER

Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions

AGENCY: Regulatory Information Service Center.

ACTION: Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.

SUMMARY: The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that agencies publish semiannual regulatory agendas in the Federal Register describing regulatory actions they are developing that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (5 U.S.C. 602). Executive Order 12866 "Regulatory Planning and Review," signed September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51735), and Office of Management and Budget memoranda implementing section 4 of that Order establish minimum standards for agencies' agendas, including specific types of information for each entry.

The Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda) helps agencies fulfill these requirements. All Federal regulatory agencies have chosen to publish their regulatory agendas as part of the Unified Agenda.

Editions of the Unified Agenda prior to fall 2007 were printed in their entirety in the Federal Register. Beginning with the fall 2007 edition, the Internet became the basic means for conveying regulatory agenda information to the maximum extent legally permissible. The complete 2012 Unified Agenda, which contains the regulatory agendas for 60 Federal agencies, is available to the public at http://reginfo.gov.

The 2012 Unified Agenda publication appearing in the Federal Register consists of agency regulatory flexibility agendas, in accordance with the publication requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Agency regulatory flexibility agendas contain only those Agenda entries for rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

ADDRESSES: Regulatory Information Service Center (M1V1E), General Services Administration, One Constitution Square, 1275 First Street NE., 630, Washington, DC 20417.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information about specific regulatory actions, please refer to the agency contact listed for each entry.

To provide comment on or to obtain further information about this publication, contact: John C. Thomas, Executive Director, Regulatory Information Service Center (MVC), General Services Administration, One Constitution Square, 1275 First Street NE, 630, Washington, DC 20417, (202) 482-7340. You may also send comments to us by e-mail at: RISC@gsa.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

INTRODUCTION TO THE UNIFIED AGENDA OF FEDERAL REGULATORY AND DEREGULATORY ACTIONS

I. What Is the Unified Agenda?

The Unified Agenda provides information about regulations that the Government is considering or reviewing. The Unified Agenda has appeared in the Federal Register each year since 1983 and has been available online since 1995. To further the objective of using modern technology to deliver better service to the American people for lower cost, beginning with the fall 2007 edition, the Internet became the basic means for conveying regulatory agenda information to the maximum extent legally permissible. The complete Unified Agenda is available to the public at http://reginfo.gov. The online Unified Agenda offers flexible search tools and access to the historic Unified Agenda database to 1995.

The 2012 Unified Agenda publication appearing in the Federal Register consists of agency regulatory flexibility agendas, in accordance with the publication requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Agency regulatory flexibility agendas contain only those Agenda entries for rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and entries that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Printed entries display only the fields required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Complete agenda information for those entries appears, in a uniform format, in the online Unified Agenda at http://reginfo.gov.

These publication formats meet the publication mandates of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 12866, as well as move the Agenda process toward the goal of online availability, at a substantially reduced printing cost. The current online format does not reduce the amount of information available to the public. The complete online edition of the Unified Agenda includes regulatory agendas from 60 Federal agencies. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included.

The following agencies have no entries identified for inclusion in the printed regulatory flexibility agenda. An asterisk (*) indicates agencies that appear in The Regulatory Plan. The regulatory agendas of these agencies are available to the public at http://reginfo.gov.

Department of Housing and Urban Development*

Department of Justice*

Department of State

Department of Veterans Affairs*

Agency for International Development

Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled

Corporation for National and Community Service

Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission*

Export-Import Bank of the United States

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

Institute of Museum and Library Services

National Archives and Records Administration*

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Science Foundation

Office of Government Ethics

Office of Management and Budget

Office of Personnel Management*

Peace Corps

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation*

Railroad Retirement Board

Social Security Administration*

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Consumer Product Safety Commission*

Farm Credit Administration

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Federal Housing Finance Agency

Federal Maritime Commission

Federal Trade Commission*

National Credit Union Administration

National Indian Gaming Commission*

National Labor Relations Board

Postal Regulatory Commission

Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Surface Transportation Board

The Regulatory Information Service Center compiles the Unified Agenda for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), part of the Office of Management and Budget. OIRA is responsible for overseeing the Federal Government's regulatory, paperwork, and information resource management activities, including implementation of Executive Order 12866. The Center also provides information about Federal regulatory activity to the President and his Executive Office, the Congress, agency officials, and the public.

The activities included in the Agenda are, in general, those that will have a regulatory action within the next 12 months. Agencies may choose to include activities that will have a longer timeframe than 12 months. Agency agendas also show actions or reviews completed or withdrawn since the last Unified Agenda. Executive Order 12866 does not require agencies to include regulations concerning military or foreign affairs functions or regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel matters.

Agencies prepared entries for this publication to give the public notice of their plans to review, propose, and issue regulations. They have tried to predict their activities over the next 12 months as accurately as possible, but dates and schedules are subject to change. Agencies may withdraw some of the regulations now under development, and they may issue or propose other regulations not included in their agendas. Agency actions in the rulemaking process may occur before or after the dates they have listed. The Unified Agenda does not create a legal obligation on agencies to adhere to schedules in this publication or to confine their regulatory activities to those regulations that appear within it.

II. Why Is the Unified Agenda Published?

The Unified Agenda helps agencies comply with their obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and various Executive orders and other statutes.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to identify those rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (5 U.S.C. 602). Agencies meet that requirement by including the information in their submissions for the Unified Agenda. Agencies may also indicate those regulations that they are reviewing as part of their periodic review of existing rules under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610). Executive Order 13272 entitled "Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking," signed August 13, 2002 (67 FR 53461), provides additional guidance on compliance with the Act.

Executive Order 12866

Executive Order 12866 entitled "Regulatory Planning and Review," signed September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51735), requires covered agencies to prepare an agenda of all regulations under development or review. The Order also requires that certain agencies prepare annually a regulatory plan of their "most important significant regulatory actions," which appears as part of the fall Unified Agenda. Executive Order 13497, signed January 30, 2009 (74 FR 6113), revoked the amendments to Executive Order 12866 that were contained in Executive Order 13258 and Executive Order 13422.

Executive Order 13132

Executive Order 13132 entitled "Federalism," signed August 4, 1999 (64 FR 43255), directs agencies to have an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have "federalism implications" as defined in the Order. Under the Order, an agency that is proposing a regulation with federalism implications, which either preempt State law or impose nonstatutory unfunded substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments, must consult with State and local officials early in the process of developing the regulation. In addition, the agency must provide to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget a federalism summary impact statement for such a regulation, which consists of a description of the extent of the agency's prior consultation with State and local officials, a summary of their concerns and the agency's position supporting the need to issue the regulation, and a statement of the extent to which those concerns have been met. As part of this effort, agencies include in their submissions for the Unified Agenda information on whether their regulatory actions may have an effect on the various levels of government and whether those actions have federalism implications.

Executive Order 13563

Executive Order 13563 entitled "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review," signed January 18, 2011, supplements and reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing contemporary regulatory review that were established in Executive Order 12866, which includes the general principles of regulation and public participation, and orders integration and innovation in coordination across agencies; flexible approaches where relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory approaches; scientific integrity in any scientific or technological information and processes used to support the agencies' regulatory actions; and retrospective analysis of existing regulations.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, title II) requires agencies to prepare written assessments of the costs and benefits of significant regulatory actions "that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more . . . in any 1 year . . . ." The requirement does not apply to independent regulatory agencies, nor does it apply to certain subject areas excluded by section 4 of the Act. Affected agencies identify in the Unified Agenda those regulatory actions they believe are subject to title II of the Act.

Executive Order 13211

Executive Order 13211 entitled "Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use," signed May 18, 2001 (66 FR 28355), directs agencies to provide, to the extent possible, information regarding the adverse effects that agency actions may have on the supply, distribution, and use of energy. Under the Order, the agency must prepare and submit a Statement of Energy Effects to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, for "those matters identified as significant energy actions." As part of this effort, agencies may optionally include in their submissions for the Unified Agenda information on whether they have prepared or plan to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for their regulatory actions.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (Pub. L. 104-121, title II) established a procedure for congressional review of rules (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), which defers, unless exempted, the effective date of a "major" rule for at least 60 days from the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. The Act specifies that a rule is "major" if it has resulted, or is likely to result, in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other criteria specified in that Act. The Act provides that the Administrator of OIRA will make the final determination as to whether a rule is major.

III. How Is the Unified Agenda Organized?

Agency regulatory flexibility agendas are printed in a single daily edition of the Federal Register. A regulatory flexibility agenda is printed for each agency whose agenda includes entries for rules which are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities or rules that have been selected for periodic review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Each printed agenda appears as a separate part. The parts are organized alphabetically in four groups: Cabinet departments; other executive agencies; the Federal Acquisition Regulation, a joint authority; and independent regulatory agencies. Agencies may in turn be divided into sub-agencies. Each agency's part of the Agenda contains a preamble providing information specific to that agency. Each printed agency agenda has a table of contents listing the agency's printed entries that follow.

The online, complete Unified Agenda contains the preambles of all participating agencies. Unlike the printed edition, the online Agenda has no fixed ordering. In the online Agenda, users can select the particular agencies whose agendas they want to see. Users have broad flexibility to specify the characteristics of the entries of interest to them by choosing the desired responses to individual data fields. To see a listing of all of an agency's entries, a user can select the agency without specifying any particular characteristics of entries.

Each entry in the Agenda is associated with one of five rulemaking stages. The rulemaking stages are:

Long-Term Actions are rulemakings reported during the publication cycle that are outside of the required 12-month reporting period for which the Agenda was intended. Completed Actions in the publication cycle are rulemakings that are ending their lifecycle either by Withdrawal or completion of the rulemaking process. Therefore, the Long-Term and Completed RINs do not represent the ongoing, forward-looking nature intended for reporting developing rulemakings in the Agenda pursuant to Executive Order 12866, section 4(b) and 4(c). To further differentiate these two stages of rulemaking in the Unified Agenda from active rulemakings, Long-Term and Completed Actions are reported separately from active rulemakings, which can be any of the first three stages of rulemaking listed above. A separate search function is provided on http://reginfo.gov to search for Completed and Long-Term Actions apart from each other and active RINs.

A bullet (●) preceding the title of an entry indicates that the entry is appearing in the Unified Agenda for the first time.

In the printed edition, all entries are numbered sequentially from the beginning to the end of the publication. The sequence number preceding the title of each entry identifies the location of the entry in this edition. The sequence number is used as the reference in the printed table of contents. Sequence numbers are not used in the online Unified Agenda because the unique Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) is able to provide this cross-reference capability.

Editions of the Unified Agenda prior to fall 2007 contained several indexes, which identified entries with various characteristics. These included regulatory actions for which agencies believe that the Regulatory Flexibility Act may require a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, actions selected for periodic review under section 610(c) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and actions that may have federalism implications as defined in Executive Order 13132 or other effects on levels of government. These indexes are no longer compiled, because users of the online Unified Agenda have the flexibility to search for entries with any combination of desired characteristics. The online edition retains the Unified Agenda's subject index based on the Federal Register Thesaurus of Indexing Terms. In addition, online users have the option of searching Agenda text fields for words or phrases.

IV. What Information Appears for Each Entry?

All entries in the online Unified Agenda contain uniform data elements including, at a minimum, the following information:

Title of the Regulation -- a brief description of the subject of the regulation. In the printed edition, the notation "Section 610 Review" following the title indicates that the agency has selected the rule for its periodic review of existing rules under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610(c)). Some agencies have indicated completions of section 610 reviews or rulemaking actions resulting from completed section 610 reviews. In the online edition, these notations appear in a separate field.

Priority -- an indication of the significance of the regulation. Agencies assign each entry to one of the following five categories of significance.

Major - whether the rule is "major" under 5 U.S.C. 801 (Pub. L. 104-121) because it has resulted or is likely to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or meets other criteria specified in that Act. The Act provides that the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will make the final determination as to whether a rule is major.

Unfunded Mandates -- whether the rule is covered by section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). The Act requires that, before issuing an NPRM likely to result in a mandate that may result in expenditures by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of more than $100 million in 1 year, agencies, other than independent regulatory agencies, shall prepare a written statement containing an assessment of the anticipated costs and benefits of the Federal mandate.

Legal Authority -- the section(s) of the United States Code (U.S.C.) or Public Law (Pub. L.) or the Executive order (E.O.) that authorize(s) the regulatory action. Agencies may provide popular name references to laws in addition to these citations.

CFR Citation -- the section(s) of the Code of Federal Regulations that will be affected by the action.

Legal Deadline -- whether the action is subject to a statutory or judicial deadline, the date of that deadline, and whether the deadline pertains to an NPRM, a Final Action, or some other action.

Abstract -- a brief description of the problem the regulation will address; the need for a Federal solution; to the extent available, alternatives that the agency is considering to address the problem; and potential costs and benefits of the action.

Timetable -- the dates and citations (if available) for all past steps and a projected date for at least the next step for the regulatory action. A date displayed in the form 12/00/12 means the agency is predicting the month and year the action will take place but not the day it will occur. In some instances, agencies may indicate what the next action will be, but the date of that action is "To Be Determined." "Next Action Undetermined" indicates the agency does not know what action it will take next.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required -- whether an analysis is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) because the rulemaking action is likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined by the Act.

Small Entities Affected -- the types of small entities (businesses, governmental jurisdictions, or organizations) on which the rulemaking action is likely to have an impact as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Some agencies have chosen to indicate likely effects on small entities even though they believe that a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis will not be required.

Government Levels Affected -- whether the action is expected to affect levels of government and, if so, whether the governments are State, local, tribal, or Federal.

International Impacts -- whether the regulation is expected to have international trade and investment effects, or otherwise may be of interest to the Nation's international trading partners.

Federalism -- whether the action has "federalism implications" as defined in Executive Order 13132. This term refers to actions "that have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government." Independent regulatory agencies are not required to supply this information.

Included in the Regulatory Plan -- whether the rulemaking was included in the agency's current regulatory plan published in fall 2011.

Agency Contact -- the name and phone number of at least one person in the agency who is knowledgeable about the rulemaking action. The agency may also provide the title, address, fax number, e-mail address, and TDD for each agency contact.

Some agencies have provided the following optional information:

RIN Information URL -- the Internet address of a site that provides more information about the entry.

Public Comment URL -- the Internet address of a site that will accept public comments on the entry. Alternatively, timely public comments may be submitted at the Governmentwide e-rulemaking site, http://www.regulations.gov.

Additional Information -- any information an agency wishes to include that does not have a specific corresponding data element.

Compliance Cost to the Public -- the estimated gross compliance cost of the action.

Affected Sectors -- the industrial sectors that the action may most affect, either directly or indirectly. Affected sectors are identified by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

Energy Effects -- an indication of whether the agency has prepared or plans to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects for the action, as required by Executive Order 13211 "Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use," signed May 18, 2001 (66 FR 28355).

Related RINs -- one or more past or current RIN(s) associated with activity related to this action, such as merged RINs, split RINs, new activity for previously completed RINs, or duplicate RINs.

Some agencies that participated in the 2012 edition of The Regulatory Plan have chosen to include the following information for those entries that appeared in the Plan:

Statement of Need -- a description of the need for the regulatory action.

Summary of the Legal Basis -- a description of the legal basis for the action, including whether any aspect of the action is required by statute or court order.

Alternatives -- a description of the alternatives the agency has considered or will consider as required by section 4(c)(1)(B) of Executive Order 12866.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits -- a description of preliminary estimates of the anticipated costs and benefits of the action.

Risks -- a description of the magnitude of the risk the action addresses, the amount by which the agency expects the action to reduce this risk, and the relation of the risk and this risk reduction effort to other risks and risk reduction efforts within the agency's jurisdiction.

V. Abbreviations

The following abbreviations appear throughout this publication:

ANPRM -- An Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a preliminary notice, published in the Federal Register, announcing that an agency is considering a regulatory action. An agency may issue an ANPRM before it develops a detailed proposed rule. An ANPRM describes the general area that may be subject to regulation and usually asks for public comment on the issues and options being discussed. An ANPRM is issued only when an agency believes it needs to gather more information before proceeding to a notice of proposed rulemaking.

CFR -- The Code of Federal Regulations is an annual codification of the general and permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by the agencies of the Federal Government. The Code is divided into 50 titles, each title covering a broad area subject to Federal regulation. The CFR is keyed to and kept up to date by the daily issues of the Federal Register.

EO -- An Executive order is a directive from the President to Executive agencies, issued under constitutional or statutory authority. Executive orders are published in the Federal Register and in title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

FR -- The Federal Register is a daily Federal Government publication that provides a uniform system for publishing Presidential documents, all proposed and final regulations, notices of meetings, and other official documents issued by Federal agencies.

FY -- The Federal fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.

NPRM -- A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the document an agency issues and publishes in the Federal Register that describes and solicits public comments on a proposed regulatory action. Under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553), an NPRM must include, at a minimum:

PL (or Pub. L.) -- A public law is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President or enacted over his veto. It has general applicability, unlike a private law that applies only to those persons or entities specifically designated. Public laws are numbered in sequence throughout the 2-year life of each Congress; for example, PL 112-4 is the fourth public law of the 112th Congress.

RFA -- A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is a description and analysis of the impact of a rule on small entities, including small businesses, small governmental jurisdictions, and certain small not-for-profit organizations. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires each agency to prepare an initial RFA for public comment when it is required to publish an NPRM and to make available a final RFA when the final rule is published, unless the agency head certifies that the rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

RIN -- The Regulation Identifier Number is assigned by the Regulatory Information Service Center to identify each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda, as directed by Executive Order 12866 (section 4(b)). Additionally, OMB has asked agencies to include RINs in the headings of their Rule and Proposed Rule documents when publishing them in the Federal Register, to make it easier for the public and agency officials to track the publication history of regulatory actions throughout their development.

Seq. No. -- The sequence number identifies the location of an entry in the printed edition of the Unified Agenda. Note that a specific regulatory action will have the same RIN throughout its development but will generally have different sequence numbers if it appears in different printed editions of the Unified Agenda. Sequence numbers are not used in the online Unified Agenda

USC -- The United States Code is a consolidation and codification of all general and permanent laws of the United States. The USC is divided into 50 titles, each title covering a broad area of Federal law.

VI. How Can Users Get Copies of the Agenda?

Copies of the Federal Register issue containing the printed edition of the Unified Agenda (agency regulatory flexibility agendas) are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Telephone: (202) 512-1800 or 1-866-512-1800 (toll-free).

Copies of individual agency materials may be available directly from the agency or may be found on the agency's website. Please contact the particular agency for further information.

All editions of The Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions since fall 1995 are available in electronic form at http://reginfo.gov, along with flexible search tools.

In accordance with regulations for the Federal Register, the Government Printing Office's GPO FDsys website contains copies of the Agendas and Regulatory Plans that have been printed in the Federal Register. These documents are available at http://www.fdsys.gov.

Dated: December 21, 2012.

NAME: John C. Thomas,

Executive Director.