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Overview of the Texas Administrative Code Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011.

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1 Overview of the Texas Administrative Code Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011

2 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 First a REVIEW The Texas secretary of state is responsible for publishing the adopted rules of state agencies in the Texas Administrative Code. The secretary of state is also responsible for the publication of the Texas Register. The Texas Register is the official publication for public notices and other activities of state government. (Among them – proposed rules.) The Administrative Code is the collection of rules that are currently in effect.

3 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 First a REVIEW Valid agency rules have the force of law. The Texas Administrative Code is a code – meaning a systematically arranged collection or compendium of statutes, rules, or regulations. Texas statutes are also arranged in a series of codes: Texas Penal Code Texas Occupations Code Texas Local Government Code When an agency or regulated industry cites agency rules, the citation is to the Administrative Code.

4 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation Just like other professions, government writers have certain conventions for citing texts. (Just like APA style or MLA style.) The style used by the government is more or less what is called Bluebook style. The Bluebook is a legal style manual used by most attorneys and judges in the U.S. The name refers to its distinctive blue cover.

5 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Thus, the Bluebook style is the default style used by state and federal agencies in their own documents as well. … More or less. Often, government writers will cite rules with their own individual quirks or a style specified by their particular agency. For example, the year is part of a cite to the TAC, but is typically omitted. So we will omit it in this class. There is no one correct way to cite the rules. What follows is an overview of the parts of the TAC and how they are most typically cited by state agencies.

6 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 The parts of a rule citation 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 330.9(a). Title number 30 Abbreviations This symbol means section Chapter 330 Section 9 Subsection (a)

7 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Code Abbreviation The abbreviation Tex. Admin. Code is the most commonly used in citation. However, you will also see agencies simply write TAC. This is like the citation used for the federal counterpart to our Code: the Code of Federal Regulations. Abbreviated as CFR.

8 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Title The first division of the Administrative Code is into titles. Each title covers a particular subject-matter. So, for example, title 22 contains rules adopted by various examining boards (Nursing Board, Vet Board, etc.) The title number appears first in a citation: 22 Tex. Admin. Code.

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10 Parts The Code is further divided into a number of parts appearing under each title. For example, see how title 22 has parts numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, and so on. What happened to 2, 4, and 6? These might be placeholders for future rules or rules that were withdrawn from the Code. The part numbers under each title do not appear in a citation to the Code. But they are useful when looking for a rule.

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12 Chapters The next level of division is the chapter. So every part of the Code contains one or more chapter. See, for example, 30 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 330. Each chapter deals with a more specific subject- matter: Title 30 includes environmental rules. Part 1 includes rules of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chapter 330 includes environmental rules dealing with municipal solid waste (i.e. garbage)

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14 Chapters continued Sometimes a writer wants to cite to an entire chapter rather than a particular rule. This is done as follows: 30 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 330 or 30 TAC Chapter 330. Otherwise, the chapter number is the next part of the cite to a particular rule. The chapter appears after a section number symbol (§). You can find it in Microsoft Word under the Insert/Symbol. However, the section symbol is often omitted. So far we have 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 330

15 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Subchapters The next level of division is the subchapter. So every chapter has one or more subchapters. These are identified using capital letters. So title 30, chapter 330 has subchapters A, B, C, and so on. Each subchapter deals with yet another more specific area. For example, title 30, chapter 330, subchapter Y contains rules related to medical waste management (a particular kind of municipal solid waste covered in chapter 330).

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17 Subchapters continued Like titles, subchapters do not appear in standard rule citations, but are sometimes cited as a whole: TCEQ rules relating to the management of medical waste are contained in 30 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 330, Subchapter Y.

18 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Sections Finally, we reach sections. Every chapter is divided into one or more sections. The sections are numbers, usually in numerical order (but as rules are adopted and removed, the numbering may develop holes). For example, 30 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 330, Subchapter A begins with Section 1. The next section is 3. The section number is attached to the chapter after a period. Again, note the citation does not include the part or subchapter. Just the title, chapter, and section: So the above citation would be 30 Tex. Admin. Code §

19 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Subsections Sections are what we think of as a particular rule. Most sections are divided into subsections. (However, some sections are short enough to have no subsections.) But most rules contain many subsections. Subsections are lower-case letters: a, b, c, etc. If you are citing to a particular subsection, you simply add the subsection on the string of chapter and section: 330.9(a) means subsection (a) of section 9 of chapter 330. Subsections usually specify different requirements or scenarios regulated by a particular rule.

20 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Subsections

21 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Multiple subsections Often, writers want to cite to multiple subsections of a particular section. The most common way to do this is to use a dash: 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 330.9(a)-(d). Citations to multiple, non-sequential subsections can be written as follows: 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 330.9(a), (d), and (f).

22 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Subparts and beyond Beyond subsections The organization of rules goes beyond subsections, sometimes way beyond when there is a particularly complicated rule. The next level is called the subpart. So each subsection may be divided into subparts. Used if a particular subsection itself has multiple requirements or scenarios. The TAC switches between letters and numbers (like an outline). So if subsections are letters (a, b, c), then the subparts would be numbers (1, 2, 3). The next level would be capital letters (A, B, C) then roman numerals (i, ii, iii).

23 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Note how recklessness contains several subparts: (1), (2), and (3) under subsection (b).

24 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Putting it all together! The organization of the TAC: Titles Parts Chapters Subchapters Sections Subsections Subparts 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 330.9(a)(1)

25 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing In other classes you may have learned that you must provide a citation as a matter of academic honesty when you are quoting or otherwise using someone elses ideas in your own work. Ex. Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263). This is citation in the context of academic work. Its purpose is to give credit to the author of the ideas being used. An acknowledgement that you are using someone elses ideas and incorporating them into your own.

26 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing Professional and governmental writing have different purposes. When a state agency writes a letter to a regulated entity, it will often cite to its rules. But the purpose is not to give credit to the author of the rules for those ideas. Rather, it is to establish the authority for the proposition cited. In other words, a citation in this context is a way of saying this is the law.

27 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing Therefore, when working with government regulations and laws, writers think about citing sources as establishing the authority for their ideas. Thus, you need a citation to establish that something is a requirement of the regulation. You dont necessarily need a citation to a source if you are borrowing someone elses words. HUH? Does this go against everything you learned in school?

28 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing An example: often governmental writing uses what are called form letters. A basic shell or template. These letters will often have the same formatting and even sentences. Names, dates, and maybe specific rules are switched as the case may require. If you are writing a form letter, you are using someone elses ideas. The sentences are not your own. They belong to the individual who wrote the form. Do you need to give credit to that person? NO!

29 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing Another example: governmental writing will often incorporate outside sources of information without providing a citation. (In more formal contexts, like writing a legal brief, citing your sources is expected.) But in less formal contexts, no one bothers with a citation. In fact, it may read as pompous and silly to cite all of your sources of information. Consider the following document produced by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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31 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing This is a guidance document. It is designed to provide the public information on a regulatory program. The author of this document was likely someone at TCEQ who was tasked with gathering information on scrap tires from a variety of sources. Perhaps TCEQ rules, industry reports, or other sources. Note how none of those sources are cited in this text. If this were an academic document, the writer would probably be penalized for not citing his or her sources. Example: "Beneficial end uses for scrap tires can curve illegal tire dumping while diverting tires from landfill disposal. Probably not the authors original idea. No citation needed here because the author of this document isnt turning it in for a grade.

32 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Citation in academic work versus government writing Think about the purpose of this document: not to prove that the author has performed research on scrap tires but to provide information to the public. The public does not care if you are incorporating ideas that are not your own. They just want the information. Plagiarism is determined by the context and purpose of the document. In the working world, people plagiarize ideas all the time through forms and templates. In the academic setting, you are writing to show your instructor what you know and how you are able to work with ideas. Thus, giving credit to your sources is essential.

33 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Review Writing for the government or professional audiences is fundamentally different than academic writing. The difference is in the purpose: Academic writing: proving to the audience [your instructor] what you know and how you can work with ideas. Government writing: proving to an audience that certain obligations exist or how processes work, or just providing information. Citations to agency rules are typically used not to give credit for someone elses ideas, but to show the authority or basis in the law for the authors conclusion or argument.

34 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Review Sidenote: citations for ideas that and information that are not the authors are expected in more formal documents like legal briefs. But that is beyond the scope of this class. We are talking about basic, everyday communications: Correspondence Guidance documents

35 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 What part of a rule do you cite? When citing to an agency rule or statute, you have to decide what specific text you are referring to. Sometimes a writer wants to refer to an entire regulatory program, like the rules on medical waste, as a whole. However, when government writers cite to the TAC, they are usually citing to a specific requirement within a rule. Generally speaking, you should write a citation that takes the reader to the specific subsection or subpart of the rule that contains the specific text you are citing.

36 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 What part of a rule do you cite? Using the rule below, what would you cite for the proposition that recklessness includes a knowing failure to use ordinary care and attention toward the intended result and that failure jeopardizes a persons safety?

37 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 What part of a rule do you cite? Under the Architectural Boards rules, recklessness includes a knowing failure to use ordinary care when a material is employed by an architect and that decision jeopardizes a persons safety. 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 1.143(b)(2). Note: the cite is not just 1.143(b). Note: The sentence says recklessness includes. A citation to a rule doesnt have to state everything the rule says. Here, the sentence is not detailing everything that counts as recklessness under this rule. The rules says health, safety, or welfare, but maybe this author is only concerned with safety. Note: See how the citation shows the authority for the statement. It is a way of saying Im not just making this up!

38 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 How do you cite a rule in a sentence? Typically, a citation acts as its own sentence following the sentence it cites. Each sentence has its own period. When you write a citation within the text under APA or MLA style, you make it part of the same sentence. Notice the difference: Bluebook: TCEQ rules require that owners and operators of underground storage tanks register their tanks with the commission. 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 334.7(a)(2). APA: The American Physiological Association style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199). MLA: Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

39 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 How do you cite a rule in a sentence? However, you can also cite a rule in the text of a sentence: Under 30 Tex. Admin. Code Section 334.7, owners and operators must register underground storage tanks with the commission. But this can make the sentence more cluttered. Speaking of cluttered, government writers sometimes move the cites into footnotes.

40 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 What does a citation to the rules mean? If you are writing for the government, this is an important concept to understand! When you cite to a rule, you are telling the reader that what appears before the citation is either exactly what a rule says or is an accurate paraphrase. Think of it like a quote. But you need not include quotation marks. A citation is improper if it contains extra information or inferences that are not part of the cited text.

41 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 An Example Dear Regulated Entity: It has come to our attention that your license is up for renewal. 20 Tex. Admin. Code § Please submit your renewal package to the Architectural Board no later than August 12, If you have any questions, please contact the Board at the number above. Sincerely, Frank Architect Executive Director of the Architectural Board

42 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 An Example It has come to our attention that your license is up for renewal. 20 Tex. Admin. Code § If we look up 20 Tex. Admin. Code § in the TAC, does it say this particular architects license is up for renewal? Of course not. This sentence is an improper citation. The writer was being lazy – skipping over an inference: The rule says that licenses are up for renewal ever five years. Your license will be five years old this August. Therefore, your license will be up for renewal in August.

43 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 An Example Is it really necessary to be so explicit? Isnt it obvious without going through what the rule actually says? An important convention in writing for the government is to be very explicit and clear about applying rules to facts. Rules are stated separately. The facts are stated separately. Then a conclusion is drawn. If you have laid out your rule and your facts, the truth of the conclusion should be clear. This clarity is a goal of governmental writing. Even if it seems tedious, it is the preferred style of writing. Go back to the above example: Law: The rule says that licenses are up for renewal ever five years. Facts: Your license will be five years old this August. Conclusion: Therefore, your license will be up for renewal in August.

44 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 An Example The conclusion rests upon a logical argument. The rules and the facts of your situation are the premises. In everyday discourse and even argument, we dont state the terms so explicitly. The speed limit is 55 miles per hour You were traveling in excess of 55 miles per hour. Therefore, you violated the speed limit. Remember, the style of writing in the government is more formal than everyday discourse.

45 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 An Example How could the licensing letter above be rewritten to Include a proper citation to the rules and Use the logical style of law, facts, conclusion Ideas?

46 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Dear Regulated Entity: The Architectural Boards rules require that architects who are licensed in the State of Texas must renew their license once every five years. 20 Tex. Admin. Code § Your license was issued on August 5, Therefore, your license must be renewed no later than August 5, Please submit your renewal package to the Architectural Board no later than July 20, 2011 to ensure that your license will be processed before the expiration date. If you have any questions, please contact the Board at the number above. Sincerely, Frank Architect Executive Director of the Architectural Board

47 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Dear Regulated Entity: The Architectural Boards rules require that architects who are licensed in the State of Texas must renew their license once every five years. 20 Tex. Admin. Code § Your license was issued on August 5, Therefore, in order to maintain your license, you must submit a renewal package to the Board no later than July 20, Please submit your renewal package to the Architectural Board no later than August 1, 2011 to ensure that your license will be processed before the expiration date. If you have any questions, please contact the Board at the number above. Sincerely, Frank Architect Executive Director of the Architectural Board

48 Administrative Policy Writing Spring 2011 Lets look at some real-world examples of government communications that cite agency rules. First, a FAQ published by the Department of Health and Human Services on obtaining a food manager certification. Second, a FAQ published by the Real Estate Commission on licensed real estate inspectors.

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51 Questions? Comments?


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