Participation in the workings of government is one of the hallmarks of democracy. Virginia's citizens have the opportunity to actively participate in the regulatory process. This page answers questions about how you can better understand and participate in the regulatory process in Virginia.
A regulation is a law adopted by a state government agency. The General Assembly must pass a law authorizing or mandating a state agency to write regulations.
Regulations affect different aspects of life in Virginia. For example, if you fish, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regulates the process for obtaining a fishing license. When you go to a restaurant, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control creates the regulations, or rules, that the restaurant must follow when serving alcohol.
The Virginia Register of Regulations is Virginia's official biweekly publication of regulations that are in the process of being created, amended or repealed. All regulations must be filed with the Registrar of Regulations for them to become law. The Virginia Register provides a snapshot of all regulatory activity happening in Virginia.
The Virginia Register includes notices of regulations that an agency is thinking about changing, proposed changes to regulations, emergency regulations, and final adopted regulations. You can follow a regulation's progress in the Virginia Register and find out what changes are being proposed, where a public hearing will be held, and who to contact if you have questions or want to comment on the regulation.
The Virginia Regulatory Town Hall (Town Hall) is a website (http://townhall.virginia.gov) managed by the Department of Planning and Budget. Through this website, executive branch agencies submit regulations for review and approval of the Governor. Once through the review process, the regulation is sent to the Virginia Register for publication.
The Town Hall is another resource for tracking the progress of a regulation. You can sign up to be notified by email of regulatory activity and comment on regulations using the public comment forum.
NOTE: Not all state agencies' regulations are found on the Town Hall.
Citizen participation in the regulatory process is important. Ways to participate include:
The Commonwealth Calendar allows you to search by date and agency to find more details about a particular meeting, including the agenda and/or minutes. Meeting and hearing information pertaining to regulations is also posted on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall (http://townhall.virginia.gov). Public hearings on regulations are also published with the proposed regulation in the Virginia Register.