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Tips and Tricks: Regulatory Comments

Rulemaking is one of the fundamental functions of the government. Rules and regulations can have a large impact on Colorado's communities, so it is important for policymakers to have access to as much information as possible from nonprofit leaders on how a rule will affect the communities served by the organization. Thankfully, Colorado’s regulatory process allows for considerable public input on proposed rules and proposed changes to rules.

When an agency proposes a rule, it must wait for at least 20 days after the proposed change is announced before holding a public hearing. Any member of the public can attend the hearing and provide brief comments on the rule.  

Additionally, the agency must publish the text of the proposed rule at least 5 days before the hearing. This means that the turnaround time for submitting comments is very short.

The following tips can help you effectively write and submit regulatory comments:

  • Read the notice of rulemaking to learn the purpose of the rulemaking, time and location of the hearing, and how to submit comments in writing.
    • Typically, comments are accepted by postal email and email. Some agencies may have an online comment form to use.  
  • Read the proposed changes to the rules. Pay close attention to what parts of the rules are changing and what remains the same.
    • Policymakers are particularly interested in feedback on changes but this may be an opportunity to comment on parts where no changes are proposed.
  • Share the rulemaking information with other nonprofits in your community, or other relevant Colorado associations, and ask for their feedback. Gathering information will help you create well-rounded comments.
  • If you have questions, contact the agency proposing the rule. Some agencies may be reluctant to answer questions outside of the formal rulemaking process but it doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Be clear, concise, and detailed in your comments. Use evidence from your organization's experience or refer to your knowledge of relevant laws and regulations.
  • Policymakers pay more attention to comments that offer an individual or unique perspective. They pay less attention to comments if they see the same "boiler plate" language over and over.
  • Policymakers also pay attention to the quantity of comments they receive. If you are a member of an association that is commenting, you may want to comment too.  
  • Comments on both areas of agreement and disagreement, Use respectful language and tone throughout your comments, even if you have strong feelings

Your voice is important to how policymakers create better rules for a better Colorado. Your organization may be the only one that can offer unique insight about how a rule affects the community you serve.

This webpage is based on the following resources. Check them out for more information on commenting on regulations:

Colorado Center on Law and Policy: Rules and Regulations Primer     Council of Nonprofits: Proposed Regulation Comments     Government Regulations Tips