Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Public comment forums

About public comment forums

Public comment forums allow users to submit comments, as well as view comments made by others. Public comment forums open automatically on the register publication date of any Notice of Periodic Review, Petition for Rulemaking or any stage of a regulatory action (NOIRA, fast track, proposed or final). In addition, an agency can optionally open a comment forum with the General Notice feature on the Town hall.

The length of a comment period defaults to the length that is required by statute or executive order. Agencies can allow more time for public comments by manually changing the comment end date when submitting any of these packages to the Registrar's office.

Public comment forums are open only during the official comment period for a stage. After the comment period has closed, it is possible to view all of comments made, but not to enter new comments. User comments can be approximately 3,000 words in length. There is an editing toolbar which allows for simple formatting and the inclusion of links to other websites. Users can enter comments while logged in as a registered public user or users can enter their comments anonymously; however, it is strongly recommended that users supply their name and organization.

Once a public comment is submitted to a forum, it becomes part of the official record of a regulatory action and cannot be changed.

Browsing for a comment forum

On the Town Hall home page their are several shortcuts that highlight currently active public comment forums and those opened recently. On the blue menu bar you can open all active comment forums on the Town Hall.

When you click on a link and are on the Comment Forums page, you can use the little graphic in the upper right to open up an options panel with a variety of options. You can specify a particular board or agency. You can choose to view forums which have recently closed.

There are also links to the comment forums on the associated stage, periodic review or petition for rulemaking screen.

How to view, print, and save public comments

Currently active public comment forums can be accessed by clicking on "Comment Forums" on the left blue menu bar and selecting "View and Enter Comments" beside the desired forum. By selecting the little graphic on the upper right, you can select past forums. You have several other selection choices. You can also find links to comment forums from other pages on the Town Hall such as when viewing the details of a regulatory stage.
Once you enter a forum (past or current) you can see a list of the comments like the example below.

You can click on a comment title to read that particular comment or you can choose the "View all comments on one page" link to obtain a comprehensive listing of all comments for the forum. You can then print that list to your printer. You can try to choose "File / Save As" to save this page on your local computer, but your file format options will depend on your browser and your computer and some web pages are difficult to save reliably. Check it out after you save it to make sure you are satisfied with the result. If you have the capability to create a PDF file, you will find those more consistently reliable.

Printing Tip: There is a "Hide Menu" link on the upper right hand side of the screen which will temporarily remove the left menu bar which might be desirable for printing.

Violations of Town Hall User policies

Please see our Comment Policy page. If you see any objectionable content please contact DPB.

Public comments

Pursuant to § 2.2-4007 (A) of the Code of Virginia, the public has an opportunity to comment on a non-exempt regulatory action after the publication of each stage in the Register.
NOIRA stage. Once published in the Register, the agency receives public comment for at least 30 days.
Proposed stage. Once published in the Register, the agency receives public comment for at least 60 days.
Fast-track stage. Once published in the Register, the agency receives public comment for at least 30 days. If an objection to the use of the fast-track process is received within the public comment period from 10 or more persons, any member of the applicable standing committee of either house of the General Assembly, or of the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, the agency shall (i) file notice of the objection with the Registrar of Regulations for publication in the Register, and (ii) proceed with the normal promulgation process set out in this article with the initial publication of the fast-track regulation serving as the Notice of Intended Regulatory Action. Otherwise, the regulation will become effective or shall be repealed as appropriate, 15 days after the close of the comment period, unless the regulation or repeal is withdrawn or a later effective date is specified by the agency. If some objections or comments have been received, but are fewer than necessary to trigger the standard regulatory process, then the agency should fill out Form TH-12 and upload it to the Town Hall.
Final stage. Once published in the Register, there is a 30-day adoption period. Pursuant to § 2.2-4007.06 of the Code of Virginia, if any changes with substantial impact has been made to the regulation between the proposed and final stages then, during the 30-day adoption period, any person can request the agency to receive further comment. If the agency receives requests from the Governor or at least 25 people, then the agency must (1) suspend the regulatory process for 30 days to receive further public comment, and (2) file notice of the additional 30-day public comment period with the Registrar, unless the agency determines that the changes made are minor or inconsequential in their impact. If there is an additional comment period, it is to begin on the date the notice of public comment appears in the Register.
Note: If an agency refuses to hold another comment period upon a request to receive additional comment, its decision is subject to court challenge.