Rulemaking Process

OAL is responsible for ensuring that California state agencies comply with the rulemaking procedures and standards set forth in California’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  A “regulation” is any rule, regulation, order or standard of general application or the amendment, supplement, or revision of any rule, regulation, order, or standard adopted by any state agency to implement, interpret, or make specific the law enforced or administered by it. When adopting regulations, every department, division, office, officer, bureau, board or commission in the executive branch of the California state government must follow the rulemaking procedures in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (Government Code section 11340 et seq.) and regulations adopted by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), unless expressly exempted by statute from some or all of these requirements. The APA requirements are designed to provide the public with a meaningful opportunity to participate in the adoption of regulations or rules that have the force of law by California state agencies and to ensure the creation of an adequate record for the OAL and judicial review.

Regulations subject to the APA are generally adopted through the “Regular” or “Emergency” rulemaking processes. The rulemaking process used by an agency to adopt regulations will dictate what procedural requirements must be followed, including but not limited to the contents of the rulemaking record, timeframes, opportunities for public participation, OAL’s review and effective dates for the regulations.


For more information on the regular and emergency rulemaking processes, please follow the links below

Underground Regulations – Information on underground regulations and the petition process is available on our website under “Underground Regulations.”