History and press

The CFPB released its initial version of eRegulations in 2013, and 18F began reusing it for ATF in 2015.

In July 2016, 18F expanded the platform with Notice and Comment features for the EPA.

18F is currently working on the OMB Policy Library, which is based on the eRegs platform.

Research

You can find our user research and usability notes on GitHub:

Press mentions

A few news clippings that also discuss motivations for eRegulations:

  • Federal Source Code Policy: Achieving Efficiency, Transparency, and Innovation through Reusable and Open Source Software, August 2016, The White House: “18F and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): Both of these organizations have policies that establish a default position to publish source code that is custom-developed by or for the organization. For example, both organizations contribute to the source code for the eRegulations platform, a web-based interface for public viewing and commenting on proposed changes to Federal regulations. The eRegulations platform, which originated at CFPB, is being used by other Federal agencies and continues to be improved based on public feedback.”

  • PDF Version of the Memorandum

  • The People’s Code

  • EPA Tests Future of Public Comments, July 2016, Nextgov: “An Environmental Protection Agency pilot lets citizens comment on specific paragraphs of proposed rules instead of submitting them via email or in a separate text box. It might seem like a minor feature that should have existed before, but EPA is among the first to test drive it, according to a blog post from General Services Administration tech consultancy, 18F. Since last year, 18F and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have been gradually adding new features to the eRegulations system, an open source platform that hosts proposals online.”

  • Want to Make Digital Government Work? Hire your Own Coders, January 2014, Nextgov: “By using hypertext and modern Web design, they thought, regulators could make proposed rules more available and comprehensible to the general public and reduce busy work for industry attorneys and activists who spend hours parsing through regulations each day…‘Where it’s going really depends on what we hear from the public, largely from the compliance industry and other folks that have to use regulations on a day to day basis as part of their jobs,’ Yuda said. ‘What we hear from those people will guide not just how we go forward with this but whether we go forward. If we hear it’s useful, then we’ll continue. If we hear that it’s not, then we have limited resources and we need to invest those in areas where we’re going to be providing value to the American public.’”

  • CFPB’s eRegulations tool promises to help users navigate federal regulations, October 2013, Administrative Conference of the US: “By opening eRegulations up to suggestions and improvements from the public, CFPB is allowing hands-on contribution to the debate over what sources are appropriately considered as a part of regulatory interpretation.”

  • One Federal Website That Works, October 2013, BloombergView: “Texts of official government rules are notoriously difficult to follow. Multiple cross-references to other rules make it necessary to consult many different resources. Experienced rule readers can find official interpretations; others can’t. CFPB’s new user-friendly site makes all available information visible and easily accessible…By focusing on users’ experience of the site, they built something that works well for real people. And the platform will constantly be upgraded because it’s open source – meaning that any agency or company can adopt it free and improve on it.”

Open government plans

eRegs has also been cited in White House Open Government Action Plans:

  • The second plan highlighted the initial launch of the eRegs platform at CFPB as a step towards expanding public participation in the development of regulations.

  • CFPB’s and ATF’s eRegs instances and Notice & Comment tools were noted in the self-assessment of that plan.

  • The third plan highlighted the potential of the Notice & Comment pilot.

  • The self-assessment of that plan describes the eRegs projects at ATF & FEC, along with the Notice & Comment pilot.

Presentations

Here are a few places eRegulations has been presented to larger audiences: