Regulation Development A Lot Like ‘Sausage Making’

Brian German Agri-Business, Regulation

Typically, the process for regulation development involves a significant amount of time and compromise between varying interests. Stakeholders of all kinds do their best to communicate with regulatory agencies in pointing out the priorities and concerns when a new rule is being considered. Director of Government Relations for the California Association of Winegrape Growers, Michael Miiller pointed to the establishment of the latest nighttime lighting requirements as a good example of how the process works.

Regulation Development

“The whole thing, the regulatory process, they all say that it’s sausage making when you look at how rules, and regulations, and law is created,” said Miiller,  “and this is a lot of sausage making too.”

The nighttime lighting rule began with proposed standards that were either unreasonable for industry members to execute or did not sufficiently detail expectations.  After accepting feedback from a variety of sources, the diverse set of viewpoints were all considered during the regulation development process to arrive at the end result. Agricultural stakeholders were able to provide guidance to allow for a better understanding of how some of the provisions of the rule would be implemented in the industry.

“When this was first introduced, because of how it was written there was a lack of clarity in a number of different areas,” Miiler noted. “We worked hard to really educate the board staff and the board members on how this works, and we were successful in getting those issues resolved.”

Regulation development most often involves a comment period for individuals to voice concerns about a rule proposal. The process is intended to foster communication between groups and allow for compromise between opposing views to form the most practical solution possible. The final nighttime lighting regulation illustrated how the process can work to achieve the desired outcome while incorporating feedback generated from stakeholders.

“As originally written, this would have been a huge, huge problem for growers but with the amendments that were taken, with the standard as it is now taking effect on July 1, we think it’s very workable,” Miiler explained. “So, all in all, it’s about something that is workable.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West