What are Regulations?
Regulations (aka rules or administrative code sections) are laws enacted by agencies. Just like statutes, they have the force of law with criminal and civil penalties for violations.
What is Rulemaking?
Rulemaking is the process of an agency creating (aka promulgating or enacting) regulations pursuant to the authority of a statute to fulfill the policy goals of the legislature.
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Board of Optometry Example
According to A.R.S. § 32-1704, the Board has the authority to "adopt, and may amend, rules consistent with this chapter governing the practice of the profession of optometry, for the performance of its duties under this chapter and for the examination of applicants for licenses..."
The Board's regulations are codified at A.A.C. R4-21-101 et. seq. You can see that there are regulations on a variety of topics.
The Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) is the official publication for current Arizona regulations. When a new final regulation is enacted, it is codified by topic in the A.A.C. When an existing regulation is amended, it is updated in the A.A.C.
The A.A.C. is organized much like the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.). The final regulations are codified by topic in 21 TITLES that are divided into chapters, articles, and sections. The titles do not correspond to A.R.S. titles.
A citation to an A.A.C. section is in the following format: A.A.C. R4-21-306. The numbers correlate to the title, chapter, and article of the section.
The Administrative Procedures Act requires all final regulations to be published in the Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.).
Sources for the Arizona Administrative Code
There can be statutes and regulations on the SAME topic, so no regulatory research is COMPLETE without searching for applicable statutes (and no statutory research is COMPLETE without searching for applicable regulations).
Remember, a legislature creates an agency to enact regulations to enforce the legislative will (i.e. its statutes). So, oftentimes there are statutes and regulations on the same topic.
The Arizona legislature (and the U.S. Congress) got tired of their constituents complaining that optometrists wouldn't give them their contact lenses prescription, so they had to buy contact lenses from their optometrists and couldn't shop around for a cheaper price. So, they both passed laws to force optometrists to give patients their prescriptions.
To find the Arizona law on this topic, you need to search BOTH the Arizona Revised Statutes and the Arizona Administrative Code.
Arizona Revised Statutes - A.R.S. § 32-1771
Arizona Administrative Code - A.A.C. R4-21-306
Once again, there can be statutes and regulations on the SAME topic, so no regulatory research is COMPLETE without searching for applicable statutes (and no statutory research is COMPLETE without searching for applicable regulations).
Why are there statutes and regulations on the exact same topic? Remember, a legislature creates an agency to enact regulations to enforce the legislative will (i.e. its statutes). Therefore, the statutes that express the legislative will often (but not always) refer to the topic, as do the regulations that enforce the statutes. BOTH are the law of the land and must be obeyed to avoid civil and criminal penalties, loss of professional licenses, etc.
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