University of Pittsburgh
October 30, 2006

Electronic Rulemaking Raises New Issues for Federal Regulators, Say Two Experts Who Will Speak at Pitt

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Neil Eisner, assistant general counsel for regulation and enforcement at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Stuart Shulman, assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, will discuss electronic rulemaking in federal regulation from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 9 in Pitt's School of Law Barco Law Building's Tepliz Memorial Courtroom, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Federal agencies promulgate more than 4,000 new regulations each year. The term "electronic rulemaking" refers to the use of information technology and the Internet in this process. The public has a right to participate under the "notice and comment" provisions in the federal Administrative Procedure Act of 1946.

Legal issues Shulman and Eisner plan to discuss include what belongs in the official record, how you protect confidential business information, who decides what features go into a government-wide electronic rulemaking system, and what happens to legacy (old) systems that are in some cases better than the new system.

An active member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Eisner is a past chair of ABA's Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. He played a major role in the creation of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Internet-accessible public docket, the first in the government, which is used for rulemaking, adjudication, and other purposes. He also created the department's innovative, intranet-based rulemaking management system, which is used for tracking, coordinating, and filing rulemaking documents. He received his J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law and an A.B. degree with honors in political science from Syracuse University.

A senior research associate at Pitt's University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR), Shulman is the founder and director of UCSUR's Qualitative Data Analysis Program, which is a fee-for-service coding lab working on projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, and other U.S. funding agencies. He has been the principal investigator and project director on five related NSF-funded research projects focusing on electronic rulemaking, human language technologies, digital citizenship, and service-learning efforts in the United States. Shulman is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics.