Pursuant to an Executive Order “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” issued by Pres. Trump four months ago, all federal agencies must post all their Guidances – of any kind—on a searchable website by February 28. Because of the breadth of the EO, “Guidances” can include a wide variety of writings beyond what are commonly regarded as statements of an agency’s policies or practices, e.g., letters, adjudication decisions, or even press releases. The Department of Labor stated it will meet the deadline.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a small agency within OMB that will oversee this effort, has told agencies that all guidance documents must be machine readable and able to be indexed and searched by commonly used commercial search engines. Most significantly, and in keeping with the most important aspect of the EO, OIRA reminded agencies that they must include a clearly visible note stating that guidance documents lack the force and effect of law, unless expressly authorized by statute or incorporated into a contract.