Rules Corner: DHRM’s Rulemaking Process Explained

The Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM) is in charge of making rules that govern Utah state employees. DHRM receives input (agencies, state employees, employee advocacy groups, interested citizens, and the Legislature are all eligible to submit), reviews the input, and drafts and revises rules to reflect the intended result. The proposed changes/additions are compared with current  laws and rules to determine whether they may lead to any unintended consequences.

Bryan Embley, who administers the rules-change process for DHRM, spoke to the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) Human Resource Policy and Rules Committee on Sept. 20. “The process of rule change isn’t always pretty, but it is straightforward,” he said.

The committee asked Embley to present on the process, and to explain how UPEA can best provide input about rule changes.

Input may be submitted to DHRM at any time during the year, Embley said.  The following must be included when submitting input:

  • the proposed change
  • why the change should be made
  • contact information of those requesting the changes

If a proposed changes was previously submitted and rejected, DHRM will contact the submitting party to ask why it should be reconsidered. A running list with the original rule, the proposed rule, and the reason for change, along with thoughts on unanticipated consequences, is added to year round until it’s time to approve the policy changes.

DHRM creates a master draft of proposed rules during the legislative session that uses redline to show what would change.  The DHRM Labor Relations team reviews the redlined draft, seeking out experts in the areas of proposed changes to ensure proposed changes will be effective and will not conflict with existing rule and law. It ensures that the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) approves the proposed language, and that any unintended consequences are acceptable. At the completion of the legislative session, any legislation passed related to rulemaking is added to the master document. When the Legislature ends, the master draft is sent out for comments on unintended consequences, Embley noted that, “sometimes the changing of one rule will change another rule,” and DHRM wants to make sure any subsequent changes are done intentionally.

Embley notified the Human Resource Policy and Rules Committee that DHRM wants new rules to be effective on July 1, 2019. He informed UPEA that DAS must file finalized rules between April 16 and May 1, 2019, resulting in proposed changes being published in the May 15, 2019 DAS  bulletin. This means that UPEA needs to submit comments before April 16, and he encouraged UPEA to submit ideas as they come up.

Questions? Call (801)-264-8732 to reach a UPEA representative.