In Fiscal Year 2017, the Commission continued to provide through the Internet -- as prescribed by Section 207 of the E-Government Act -- public access to virtually all public documents generated in its public proceedings, including administrative and federal court law enforcement proceedings; rulemaking and guide development proceedings; and hearings, workshops, and conferences. In carrying out these efforts, the Commission assigned the highest priority to complying with all applicable statutes, regulations, and Presidential and other official directives, and to effecting mission-critical and essential program operations. To that end, the Commission has placed on its Web site electronic copies of virtually all?public documents?it has authorized or approved since 1996 -- when the Commission Web site was established -- including administrative complaints and consent orders issued pursuant to Part 2 and Part 3 of the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 C.F.R. §§?2.31-2.34, 3.11, 3.25 (2013); federal court filings; Congressional testimony;?Federal Register?notices and other documents issued in proceedings involving rules and guides; Commission and staff reports (including all Commission annual reports since 1915); competition advocacy filings; and consumer education materials. These documents typically are placed on the Commission Web site at the same time as the news releases describing them. More recently, the Commission has effected the same approach with respect to all public motions and other filings by the parties -- and all public opinions and orders issued by the Commission and Administrative Law Judges -- in administrative adjudicative proceedings conducted pursuant to Part 3 of the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 C.F.R. § 3.1 et seq.
In addition, with respect to rulemaking, in Fiscal Year 2017 the Commission continued to comply with Section 206 of the E-Government Act. All Commission rulemaking notices and other?Federal Register?documents published in Fiscal Year 2017 were posted on the Commission's Web site and linked to the news releases describing them. Moreover, the Commission accepted public comments in each of its rulemaking proceedings electronically, through the creation and maintenance of either comment filing forms or email boxes. Furthermore, the Commission made public comments and other documents from its rulemaking docket -- as defined in the Commission's public record rule, 16 C.F.R. §?4.9(b) -- routinely available for inspection and downloading on its Web site. In addition, the Commission continued to participate fully in the ongoing initiative to establish a centralized Federal regulatory docket, at?www.regulations.gov.
The Commission will continue to assign the highest priority to providing public access through its Web site to virtually all public documents generated in its ongoing and newly initiated public proceedings. The Commission will also pursue providing such access to as many public records compiled or generated prior to the establishment of the web site in 1996 as possible. The schedule for achieving this latter objective with respect to particular types of documents will be determined on the basis of legal and mission requirements and priorities; public interest or demand (as indicated, for example, by public comments on the proposed schedule described below); the cost of converting paper documents into an electronically accessible format; the age, condition, and location of the existing paper records; and other relevant considerations. The schedule may be adjusted in the future as warranted to reflect funding and staff availability and technical improvements.
The Commission continues to solicit public comment on the above priorities and on the following proposed schedule for providing public access through its web site to copies of as many public documents as possible in the categories indicated below. Send comments to [email protected].
Within one to five years: (1) Commission opinions, Administrative Law Judge initial decisions, and administrative complaints and consent orders issued in administrative proceedings; (2) press releases; (3) competition advocacy filings; (4) advisory opinions; (5) acquisition and divestiture applications and Commission rulings thereon;(1)?(6) petitions to quash compulsory process, and Commission rulings thereon; (7) investigation closing letters; (8) minutes of public Commission meetings; (9) notices to the staff concerning standards of conduct; and (10) clearance requests from former agency employees to participate in Commission proceedings, and agency responses thereto.
Within six to ten years: (1) Interlocutory orders issued in administrative proceedings;(2)?(2) continuing guaranties under the textile labeling statutes and rules; (3) appliance energy consumption reports; (4) petitions for rulemaking and guidance proceedings, and Commission responses thereto; and (5) reports of compliance with Commission administrative orders.
Within eleven to fifteen years: (1) Commission and staff reports; (2) pleadings in administrative proceedings; (3) rulemaking and guidance proceeding documents;(3)?(4) transcripts and exhibits in administrative proceedings; and (5) Freedom of Information Act requests and letter responses thereto.
1.?The public documents in the first five categories that will be added date primarily from before 1996, because most public documents in these categories dating from 1996 to the present have already been placed on the Web site.
2.?The public documents in the first category that will be added date primarily from before 1999, because most public documents in this category dating from 1999 to the present have already been placed on the Web site.
3.?The public documents in the first three categories that will be added date primarily from before 1996, because most public documents in these categories dating from 1996 to the present have already been placed on the Web site. In addition, as noted above, all Commission Annual Reports from 1916 to the present have already been placed on the Web site.