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Statutes give general guidance in creating programs but leave the details up to the agency to work out. The nuts and bolts of how a program is to function are found in the regulations drafted by the agency. Regulations have the force of law.

Regulations are not on-line. Copies of regulations should be available from the agency that created them. Final versions of all regulations are published, updated monthly, in the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, which can be found in law libraries at local courthouses and at the State Library in Hartford. The Secretary of State's office also has official copies of all regulations and related documents.

"But if all the roads arrive in the same place at the same time, then aren't they all the right way?" asked Milo.

"Certainly not," he shouted, glaring from his most upset face. "They're all the wrong way. Just because you have a choice, doesn't mean that any of them has to be right."

-- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

The process of developing regulations is complex and largely hidden from view, unless you know where to look. Regulations are not valid until they are properly noticed, have had a public comment period, are approved by the Attorney General and the legislative Regulation Review Committee, and are filed with the Secretary of State's Office.

The process begins with statutory language that directs an agency to adopt regulations. For example, Section 17b-294 (f) states "The commissioner [of DSS] shall adopt regulations . . . . to establish a procedure for the appeal of a denial of coverage under any of the HUSKY programs." It then describes what must be included in the appeals process and the regulations.

The agency must publish a notice that they intend to create regulations and a description of the proposal in the Connecticut Law Journal (available at law libraries) at least 30 days before it is sent to the legislative Regulations Review Committee. You can request advance notice of the agency's proceeding.  The agency must provide you with a copy of the proposed regulation; they can charge a fee. The agency must also draft a fiscal note, estimating the cost of implementing the regulations. The agency must allow for public comment - that may be written or oral at a public hearing.  Public hearings on proposed regulations are held by the relevant agency, not the legislature. The public can request a public hearing on a regulation.  If you submitted comment, either in writing or at a hearing, the agency must mail you notice of their plans to submit the proposal and an opportunity to review the final draft.  Proposed regulations must also be approved by the Attorney General.

The  Legislative Regulations Review Committee is very helpful. The Committee is bi-partisan and meets throughout the year. It includes 6 senators and 8 representatives. The Committee Co-Chairs, one senator and one representative, are split between parties and change every two years. The Committee's role is to review regulations to be sure they are consistent with the legislature's original intent, are constitutional, and don't conflict with other state or federal laws. The Committee's website has lists of regulations that have been submitted for their review by year. The list includes a description of the regulation, the agency affected, the relevant statute, the dates of notices, and the Committee's action. Actions include approved, approved with technical corrections, withdrawn by the agency, rejected without prejudice (sent back to the agency for revisions) or disapproved (rarely happens). They also include a more detailed guide to the Requirements for Adoption of a Regulation.


How to testify at a Public Hearing

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Administrative Advocacy

How a Bill Becomes a Law

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Research - Finding and Using Data

Freedom of Information

The Importance of Legislative Staff

The Proper Care and Feeding of a Champion

Tips No Advocate should forget

How to work with a lobbyist

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