In July of 1993 the General Assembly created the Office of the Registrar of Regulations. The first section of this subchapter stated the following:
§ 1131. Legislative findings.
The General Assembly has conferred on boards, commissions, departments and other agencies of the Executive Branch of State Government the authority to adopt regulations. The General Assembly has found that this delegation of authority has resulted in regulations being promulgated without effective review or oversight and conformity to legislative intent. The General Assembly finds that they must provide a procedure of oversight and review of regulations pursuant to this delegation of legislative power to curtail excessive regulations and to establish a system of accountability. It is the intent of this subchapter to establish an effective method of ongoing review, accountability and oversight of regulations. It is further the intent of this subchapter to provide review by requiring a comment period following the proposal of regulations and requiring the agency to review any comments submitted.
The balance of the subchapter outlines the duties and responsibilities of the Registrar and state agencies.
One provision requires the publication, on a monthly basis of, any regulatory changes occurring in a particular month in a Register of Regulations.
The Delaware Regulations website contains, among other items, the monthly Delaware Register of Regulations, and the Delaware Administrative Code which is the official version of the regulations for the State of Delaware. The monthly Register is a compilation of all regulatory changes occurring in a given month. The Administrative Code is a topically oriented compilation of all regulations in effect.
Any Delaware Executive branch agency, boards and commissions and other quasi-government entities that wish to propose to formulate, adopt, amend or repeal a regulation must abide by the provisions of the Delaware Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Delaware’s APA is based on a model act developed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL).
The purpose of the APA is to:
. . . . standardize the procedures and methods whereby certain state agencies exercise their statutory powers and to specify the manner and extent to which action by such agencies may be subjected to public comment and judicial review. (29 Del.C. § 10101)
The Office of the Registrar of Regulations publishes various documents which conform to accepted standards regarding authenticated digital content and to comply with the requirements of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA). The Office certifies the authenticated documents published on this website and assures the authenticity of the author, source, and origin of the authenticated documents when such document bears the following emblem:
There are several other provisions of Delaware law that impact the regulatory process. The first is the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which was established on June 10, 1983. The declared policy of this act is:
§ 10402. Declaration of policy.
(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that:
(1) Numerous instances of obtaining compliance with state regulatory and reporting requirements impose inequitable demands on individuals of limited means and on small businesses.
(2) Regulatory efforts to protect the state's health, safety and economic welfare have imposed burdensome legal, accounting and consulting costs upon individuals, organizations and businesses of limited resources and are adversely affecting competition in that sphere of the marketplace.
(3) The scope and volume of regulations already in effect have created high entry barriers in many small industries and has discouraged potential entrepreneurs from introducing beneficial products and processes.
(4) The practice of treating all regulated individuals, organizations and businesses in uniform manner for purposes of regulatory and reporting requirements has led to inefficient use of regulatory agency resources, enormous enforcement problems and, in some cases, action inconsistent with the legislative intent of health, safety and economic welfare legislation.
(5) Government information collection has not adequately weighed the privacy rights of individuals and organizations against the government's need for information because the design of the regulatory process has encouraged regulators to treat information as a free good.
(6) The deep public dissatisfaction with the regulatory process has stemmed in large part from a public perception of burdensome regulations failing to correct key state problems.
(b) It is the purpose of this chapter to establish as a principle of regulatory policy that regulatory and reporting requirements fit the scale of those being regulated, that fewer, simpler requirements be made of individuals and small businesses and that to achieve these ends agencies be empowered and encouraged to issue regulations which apply differently to individuals and small businesses than to larger entities.
Specifically, all agencies must take into consideration the impact of their regulations on both individuals and small businesses and submit for publication, when required, a regulatory flexibility analysis and regulatory impact statement with each proposed regulation.
While there isn’t a formal regulatory review process, there are two provisions in Delaware law that provide for review if the General Assembly so desires. Section 910 of Title 29 of the statutory code provides:
§ 910 Consideration of agency rules during legislative interim.
(a) Where an agency adopts a new rule or regulation, or makes a substantive change or amendment to its rules or regulations at any time during the legislative interim between July 1 and the second Tuesday in January, and the chairperson of a standing committee of either house believes in good faith that such rule, regulation, amendment or change impacts upon or is within the subject-matter jurisdiction of such standing committee, the chairperson may schedule a meeting of the committee to consider such rule, regulation, amendment or change.
(b) Where more than one committee wishes to hold a meeting to consider the same rule, regulation, amendment or change, all such standing committees shall become a joint committee and shall remain in being as a joint committee for that purpose until the 1st day of the next following General Assembly session, or until the adjournment of such joint committee. A standing committee may withdraw from the joint committee at any time. Each such joint committee shall be co-chaired by a House standing committee chairperson and a Senate standing committee chairperson.
(c) Each such joint committee shall have the power, by a majority vote of its members, to draft a committee report setting forth its suggestions and recommendations, and to request the President pro tempore of the Senate or the Speaker of the House to call a special session to consider committee recommendations. Each committee report shall be forwarded to the Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee.
The other review provision is in the Delaware Sunset Act in Title 29 and provides in section 10212:
§ 10212 Agency "rules review"
(a) The Committee may conduct a specialized or focused review of one or more rules or regulations of an agency. This review is known as a "rules review," and does not include the same schedules and procedures as an agency review.
(b) The Committee may select an agency for a rules review in the same manner that it selects an agency for review under this chapter, or it may select an agency upon a written request by the chairperson of a standing committee of either house. If the Committee decides to conduct a rules review of an agency, the name of the agency must be included among those agencies scheduled for the next immediate review. A rules review may begin immediately if, in the determination of the Committee, an emergency exists.
(c) When the Committee conducts a rules review of an agency, it must first hold an information-gathering hearing in which any agency, individual, or business has the right to testify about any issue, concern, defect, or problem relating to the rules or regulations under review by the Committee. The Committee must also permit members of the public and any state agency to send written testimony and other materials to the Committee. The Committee shall, from the information-gathering hearing and submitted materials, compile a list of concerns which must include those issues, concerns, defects, or problems which the Committee feels merit closer study and consideration.
(d) Within one week following the information-gathering hearing, the Committee shall meet to consider the accumulated testimony and submitted materials, and may meet as many times thereafter to continue its review for as long as the Committee determines that meetings are necessary. Upon the conclusion of its review, the Committee shall list those changes in the agency's rules or regulations that the Committee considers necessary or appropriate, and shall meet with the highest administrative officer of the agency, or the administrative officer's designee to determine what changes, if any, can be agreed upon between the agency and the Committee. If an agreement or possible solutions to the remaining items set forth in the list of concerns cannot be obtained, the Committee shall issue its recommendations in the next final report, and shall cause legislation to be drafted that will, in the determination of the Committee, best accomplish its recommendations.