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Rulemaking Process

  • What is a rule?
    • A rule has the effect of law and is adopted by an agency, such as DHHS, to implement, interpret or make specific a statute administered by such agency. An agency can only adopt a rule if it has statutory authority to do so. The Legislature establishes policy and general standards for the operation of a program through the passage of law and grants authority to an agency to define these operational details in accordance with the statutory guidelines.
  • Why do we need rules?
    • Rules implement legislative policy. Rules inform the public about how to do or get something, or what can happen if something isn't done. Rules also set standards and limits for the exercise of discretion so that an agency gives equal treatment to persons who are in similar situations.
  • How can the public provide input on a proposed rule?
    • The Administrative Procedures Act governs the rulemaking process. Public input is allowed at two key points during the process.
      • The first is the public hearing. Notifications of upcoming hearings are published in the Rulemaking Registry and on this Web site. The Rulemaking Notice also provides information on submitting written comments on proposed rules. The public comment period remains open for a minimum of 10 days from the date of the hearing. Upon the close of the comment period, the agency reviews and considers public comment and revises the proposed rule accordingly.
      • The second opportunity for public input occurs when the rule comes before the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR). This committee provides oversight to the rulemaking process and has the responsibility of reviewing and voting on Department rules at the end of the rulemaking process. JLCAR meets at least once a month.
 
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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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