According to the public information provided by the State government of Florida, the enactment of a law in Florida begins with a state Legislator, citizen, or group suggesting legislation be introduced as a bill by either a State representative or senator. At the Senate online site, you will find that either house may originate any type of legislation. However, the processes differ slightly between houses. A legislator sponsors a bill, which is referred to one or more committees related to the subject of the bill. The committee studies the bill and decides if it should be amended, pass, or fail. If passed, the bill moves to other committees of reference or to the full house. The full house then votes on the bill.
For the enactment of a law, according to Section 8, Article 3 of the Florida State Constitution, every bill passed by the legislature is presented to the governor for approval and becomes law if the governor approves and signs it, or fails to veto it.
In comparison, the Florida Legislature allows Administrative Agencies to recommend the adoption of a rule or rule-making in Florida as provided under Florida State Statute Title X, Chapter 120; Administrative Procedure Act. Any person regulated by an agency or having a substantial interest in an agency rule may petition an agency to adopt a rule. However, the Legislature must still provide the agency the specific authority to adopt such rule and applicable penalties. An agency begins by providing official notice of a proposed rule as required under Florida Statute 120.54.
Continuing with the process of rule-making, the proposed rule also has to go through committee and public workshops may also be held to facilitate rule-making. Public Hearings may also be required if requested by affected persons. After the final public hearing on the proposed rule, the agency then files with the Florida Department of State and the proposed rule is adopted.
Pros and Cons
An advantage of rule-making over law-making is that anyone who wishes to participate in the rule-making process may do so as notice is provided to all concerned parties and the public can submit comments. With the law making process usually the electorate vote on behalf of the people represented. Rule-making and law-making are highly political processes and rule-making allows for the opportunity for politically active persons and groups to participate in the process. Most of the review of the process of adopting rules is related to due process, i.e. proper notice of the proposed rule and affording those in the public the right to be heard, provide comments, at hearings.
The process of rule-adoption contains provisions for a centralized process of a public workshop if necessary, a committee, and a public hearing versus the utilization of multiple committees, reviews, hearings occurring in two houses to enact a law. Therefore, the enactment of a law is a lengthier process than that of rule-making. Furthermore, the rule adoption process also provides the opportunity to adopt emergency rules within a significantly short period of time. An emergency rule is adopted by an agency which is necessary due to an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.
This article was designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It was written with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.
The author of this article, Gerald Henry, is a Certified Code Enforcement Professional in the State of Florida who holds a Baccalaureate Degree in Criminal Justice and Graduate Certificate in Public Administration.