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Approval Process for Statutes and Regulations

During Board meetings, Board members have the opportunity to review and hear commentary from DHEC staff and the public on proposed new or amended rules and regulations. In most cases, once the Board approves of such rules or regulations, those provisions are sent to the General Assembly for their review and concurrence. Occasionally, proposed regulatory changes are not required to be sent forth to the General Assembly for review; this usually happens when the agency is adopting a federal mandate. In all cases of regulation development, the agency adheres to the state Administrative Procedures Act.

When a proposed regulatory change is presented to the Board during a monthly Board meeting, a staff person representing the area of the agency that is responsible for developing the regulatory change will present the reasoning behind the proposal. This presentation is made after the agency has published notice of the proposed change in the State Register, held various stakeholder meetings, and allowed required time for public comment.

Regulations NOT REQUIRING Legislative Approval

  • After the 30-day comment period for a proposed regulatory change ends, DHEC requests that the Board grant approval to publish a Notice of Proposed Regulation (NPR) in the State Register and hold a Staff-Led Informational Forum (SIF) on the proposed change. The SIF is open to the public.
  • If the Board approves the request to publish the NPR, it is sent forward for publication in the State Register. The NPR announces the dates of both the SIF and of a subsequent Public Hearing, and starts a second 30-day comment period on the proposed regulatory change.
  • At a second Board Meeting, the Board holds a Public Hearing on the proposed regulation. The Public Hearing allows the opportunity for anyone from the public to attend and/or provide comments. A court reporter records a transcript of the hearing, which is included in the public record.
  • If the Board approves the proposed regulatory change wherein legislative approval is not required, DHEC publishes a Notice of Final Regulation (NFR) in the State Register. Again, legislative approval is not required when state regulatory changes are made to comply with a federal requirement.
  • The new regulation change becomes effective on publication of the NFR in the State Register.

Regulations REQUIRING Legislative Approval

  • After the 30-day comment period for a proposed regulatory change ends, DHEC requests that the Board grant approval to publish a Notice of Proposed Regulation (NPR) in the State Register and hold a Staff-Led Informational Forum (SIF) on the proposed change. The SIF is open to the public.
  • If the Board approves the request to publish the NPR, it is sent forward for publication in the State Register. The NPR announces the dates of both the SIF and of a subsequent Public Hearing, and starts a second 30-day comment period on the proposed regulatory change.
  • At a second Board Meeting, the Board holds a Public Hearing on the proposed regulation. The Public Hearing allows the opportunity for anyone from the public to attend and/or provide comments. A court reporter records a transcript of the hearing, which is included in the public record.
  • If the Board approves the proposed regulatory change wherein legislative approval is required, DHEC will submit the regulatory change to the South Carolina General Assembly for approval. The Legislature has 120 days to address the regulatory change. The 120-day period does not begin until the General Assembly is in session. Following legislative approval, the NFR is published in the State Register.
  • The new regulation change becomes effective on publication of the NFR in the State Register.

Emergency Regulations

In rare cases where an abnormal or unusual condition arises, the agency has the authority to promulgate emergency regulations if it is in the state’s best interest. These regulations are effective upon filing for ninety days and can be renewed for an additional ninety days if the original filing begins and ends during the legislative interim. Rather than go through the typical (and rather lengthy) process of regulation development, an agency may file emergency regulations directly with the Legislative Council. The regulation becomes effective as of the time of filing. The procedures for promulgating an emergency regulation are as follows:

  • After consulting legal counsel, DHEC staff will draft a proposed emergency regulation. Emergency regulation submissions must contain a written statement that justifies the request for immediate promulgation.
  • DHEC staff and legal counsel will then consult with the agency director (Commissioner). The Commissioner is required to advise the Governor of the agency’s intent to proceed with an emergency regulation.
  • After the Commissioner approves of moving forward with the proposed regulation, the regulation and justification are presented to the Board at the earliest opportunity. A special meeting of the Board members may be called in this situation.
  • Upon approval of the Board, the emergency regulation will be presented to the Legislative Council. The regulation becomes effective at the time of filing and stands for ninety days unless it is refilled or otherwise promulgated under the traditional regulation rules.
  • The Legislative Council will publish the regulation in the next State Register.

We’ve established a Regulatory Development page that contains a step-by-step process for how DHEC develops regulations and how the public can participate in the process.

For additional information, please email lucaslm@dhec.sc.gov or call (803) 898-3309.