Rules Coordination Office

WAC Rule-Making Procedures

1. The Rule-Making Process for University Departments

Title 478 WAC rule amendments and additions are coordinated by the Rules Coordination Office for the University of Washington. All costs associated with the rule-making process are the responsibility of the originating department. All rule proposals or revisions (hereafter called rule changes) are subject to review by the Attorney General’s Division, approval by the President, and adoption by the University’s Board of Regents.

The rule-making process generally requires three separate filings with the state Code Reviser’s Office:

  1. The Preproposal Statement of Inquiry—Involves the public at the initial stage of rule making (RCW 34.05.310).
  2. The Proposed Rule Making Notice—Notifies the public of the text of the rule change prior to a public hearing on the matter and solicits public comment (RCW 34.05.320).
  3. The Rule-Making Order—Notifies the public of the final adopted rule and its effective date (RCW 34.05.360).

a. Filing the Preproposal Statement of Inquiry and Initial Scheduling of the Rule-Making Process

University officials may propose a permanent rule adoption either in response to a petition or on their own initiative (see Section 4 of this procedure for rule changes in response to petitions). Rule changes are submitted to the Rules Coordination Office on the “University Initiated WAC Rule Changes (Preliminary Information)” PDF form (alternatively, call the Rules Coordination Office, 206–543–9219, to request a paper copy).

From the information provided on the “University Initiated WAC Rule Changes (Preliminary Information)” PDF form, the Rules Coordination Office prepares a schedule for the rule-making process, and prepares and files a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry. The Preproposal Statement of Inquiry informs the general public, by its publication in the Washington State Register and campus newspapers, that the University is anticipating a rule change and solicits public involvement in the matter.

Once the Preproposal Statement of Inquiry has been filed, the department requesting the rule change completes a second form, the “University Initiated WAC Rule Changes (Subsequent Information)” form and submits it to the Rules Coordination Office. Also during this interval, the text of the proposed rule change is reviewed by the Rules Coordination Office and the Attorney General’s Division, and may be submitted to the state Code Reviser’s Office for word processing.

A minimum of 30 days after publication of the Preproposal Statement of Inquiry in the Washington State Register, the University may begin the next stage of the rule-making process by filing the Proposed Rule Making notice.

b. Filing the Proposed Rule Making Notice

The Proposed Rule Making notice is filed with the state Code Reviser’s Office and with the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee (a state legislative committee). The Proposed Rule Making notice provides the text of the proposed rule change for publication in the Washington State Register, summarizes the rule change, states when and where the public hearing will be held, and solicits public comment concerning the proposed rule change. Notices regarding the public hearing are also published in campus newspapers.

It is required that notice of the hearing be published in the Washington State Register at least 20 days before the hearing date. Notification must also be made with the University’s newspapers at least seven days before the scheduled hearing. The Rules Coordination Office will notify these parties on behalf of the department. Also, within three days after publication in the Washington State Register, the Rules Coordination Office will mail a copy of the public hearing notice to each person who has made a request for such notices.

c. Proposed Rule-Making Hearing

It is expected that a good faith effort to ensure that the information on the proposed rule change published in the Washington State Register accurately reflects the rule to be considered and discussed at the rule-making hearing.

The University’s hearing officer presides over the public hearing, considers all oral testimony and written comments, and issues a written report to the University’s President that summarizes the hearing proceedings and all public comment. In addition, an audio tape is produced during the hearing for the Board of Regents to review, if desired, prior to adoption of the proposed rules.

d. Adoption of Proposed Rule

The Board of Regents reviews the proposed rule changes, a background statement provided by the University department proposing the rule changes, and the hearing officer’s report prior to taking action on the proposed rule changes.

If the Board of Regents adopts the proposed rule changes, the Rules Coordination Office produces a concise explanatory statement outlining the Regent’s action and provides the statement to any person who has submitted public comment.

If the Board of Regents decides not to adopt the rules change, recommending no action or remanding the rules back to the department for substantive changes, any new or substantially altered rules change would require the rule-making process to begin again, with the filing of a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry.

e. Filing the Rule-Making Order

Upon adoption of a rule by the Board of Regents, the Rules Coordination Office will file a Rule-Making Order with the state Code Reviser’s Office which provides the text of the final version of the rule change and explains any variance between the proposed and adopted versions. The permanent Rule-Making Order is published in the Washington State Register and, unless a later date is required by statute or is specified in the University’s order of adoption, the permanent rule become effective 31 days after the date of filing with the state Code Reviser’s Office.

In addition, the Rules Coordination Office will prepare the rule for publication in the University’s Reference Set manuals to be distributed as closely as possible to the effective date of the rule.


2. Withdrawal of a Proposed Rule

A proposed rule may be withdrawn at any time before adoption by providing a letter of notice to the Rules Coordination Office (RCW 34.05.335). The letter must be signed by the person who authorized the original request for a rule change as provided on the “University Initiated WAC Rule Changes (Preliminary Information)” form. The Rules Coordination Office will notify the state Code Reviser’s Office and the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee of the University’s intent, and the withdrawal will be published in the Washington State Register.


3. Expedited Rule Making

a. The Expedited Rule-Making Process

If proposed rules meet the criteria for adoption or repeal as listed in Sections 3.b and 3.c below, the expedited rule-making process may be used (RCW 34.05.353). This process eliminates the first state filing, the Preproposal Statement of Inquiry, and the requirement to hold a public hearing. These steps are replaced with a notice of Expedited Rule Making filed with the state and published in the Washington State Register and campus newspapers. Once this notice is published in the Washington State Register, it allows a 45-day period in which any individual or group may object to the University’s use of the expedited rule-making process by submitting a written statement to the Rules Coordination Office.

If a written objection is made and not withdrawn, the expedited process is dropped and regular rule making is begun with the second filing, the Proposed Rule Making as explained in Section 1.b above.

If no written objection to the Expedited Rule Making is made, the Rules Coordination Office prepares a request for adoption by the UW President. Assuming the President adopts the Expedited Rule Making, the process is finalized as noted in Section 1.e above, except that the Expedited Rule Making is adopted by the President, not the Board of Regents.

An Expedited Rule Making can be initiated by completing a “University Initiated WAC Rule Changes (Expedited Rule Making)” PDF form and sending it to the Rules Coordination Office.

b. Criteria for Expedited Adoption of Rules

The Rules Coordination Office may initiate expedited rule making for one of the following reasons only:

  • The proposed rules relate only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a person.
  • The proposed rules adopt or incorporate by reference without material change federal or state statutes or another state agency’s rules.
  • The proposed rules only correct typographical errors, make address or name changes, or clarify language of a rule without changing its effect.
  • The content of the rule is explicitly and specifically dictated by statute.
  • The proposed rules have been the subject of negotiated rule making or pilot rule making as specified in RCW 34.05.310(2).
  • The proposed rule is being amended as a significant legislative rule as specified in RCW 34.05.328.

c. Criteria for Expedited Repeal of Existing Rules

The Rules Coordination Office may initiate expedited repeal of a rule for one or more of the following reasons only:

  • The statute on which the rule is based has been repealed and has not been replaced by another statute providing statutory authority for the rule.
  • The statute on which the rule is based has been declared unconstitutional by a court with jurisdiction, there is a final judgment, and no statute has been enacted to replace the unconstitutional statute.
  • The rule is no longer necessary because of changed circumstances.
  • Other rules of the University or of another agency govern the same activity as the rule, making the rule redundant.

4. Petition for Adoption, Amendment, and Repeal of Rules

Any person may petition the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule. Within 60 days after receiving a written petition, the University must either:

  • Deny the petition in writing, stating its reasons for denial (specifically addressing the concerns raised by the petitioner) and, where appropriate, the alternative means by which it will address the concerns raised by the petitioner; or
  • Initiate rule-making proceedings in compliance with RCW 34.05.330, WAC 82–05–010 through 82–05–050, and WAC 478–108–110.

Forms for the petition process are available by contacting the Rules Coordination Office, Box 351210, Seattle, WA 98195-1210; phone: 206–543–9219; and email at rules@uw.edu.


5. Adoption of Emergency Rules

a. No Notices and Hearing Requirements

When a rule must become effective before a permanent rule can be adopted, the University may adopt the rule on a temporary basis as an “emergency” rule. Emergency rules bypass the preproposal and proposal notices and the public hearing, which are requirements for permanent rules.

b. Required Demonstration That “Emergency” Exists

The University may adopt such an emergency rule only if it finds for “good cause” that an “emergency” exists as described in RCW 34.05.350(1). The Administrative Procedure Act specifically recognizes federal requirements for receipt of federal funds or statutorily-imposed deadlines for adopting rules as “emergencies.” To support its decision to adopt an emergency rule, the University must, in its order of adoption, set out the facts that explain why an emergency exists.

c. Temporary Nature of Emergency Rules

An emergency rule is valid for 120 days. An identical or substantially similar emergency rule cannot be adopted in sequence unless the University is actively pursuing the steps necessary to adopt the rule permanently or unless “conditions have changed” [RCW 34.05.350(2)].

d. Filing an Emergency Rule

To initiate an emergency rule, departments should contact the Rules Coordination Office, campus mail: Box 351210; phone: 206–543–9219; or email at rules@uw.edu. The Rules Coordination Office coordinates a review of the emergency rule with the Attorney General’s Division and the President’s Office. The Rules Coordination Office files the emergency rule with the state Code Reviser’s Office and the Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee and, because of the temporary nature of an emergency rule, usually initiates the permanent rule-making process (see Section 1 of this procedure) at the same time. Emergency rules are published in the Washington State Register and, unless otherwise specified, are effective upon filing.