The Philadelphia Water Department is just one of the many city agencies that has a long set of regulations. Photo by Flickr user @ezraw, licensed by Creative Commons.
It shouldn’t be hard to find a city department’s regulations, and Philadelphians should know when the city is changing those regulations.
That’s the idea behind a bill that Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez introduced yesterday. The bill proposes that city agencies post all their regulations — both proposed and final — online.
There’s no one place to find these regulations, which guide the way each department works. Some are online, some are not and some are so hard to find that they’ve been called “shadow laws,” said Jennifer Kates, legislative aide to Quiñones-Sánchez.
It’s even harder to get a hold of proposed regulations. You can only see them by going to the Department of Records.
Why does it matter that people see proposed regulations?
Because city departments only have to hold hearings on proposed regulations if someone requests one, according to the city charter. In other words, the only way the public would ever get a chance to have a say is if it knows what’s going on.
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