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Definitions for rules

Rule definitions are alphabetical and all RCW links go to leg.wa.


Administrative policy—A directive that regulates the internal management of the Department of Licensing and the actions of its employees. Administrative policies do not apply to clients, vendors, or the public.

Administrative Procedure Act (APA)—The law describing the administrative procedures that agencies must follow to develop rules published in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), RCW 34.05. The APA requires public and legislative accessibility to a state agency's administrative decision-making process.

Adoption date—The date the permanent or emergency rule-making order is filed (adopted) with the Office of the Code Reviser.

Amendment—An action to change the language of an existing rule (see RCW 34.05.395).


Chapter—The second number grouping in a WAC citation. For example, the chapter in WAC 388-165-030 is "165."

Continuance—A continuance may be filed on a CR-102 (Proposed rule making) to change previously filed information, continue a proceeding by establishing a later time and place on the record, or extend the rule adoption date (see RCW 34.05.335).

CR-101: Preproposed Statement of Inquiry—The public is invited to participate with the agency to discuss a subject of possible rule making before any formal notice or action is taken. The CR-101 must be published in the Washington State Register (WSR) at least 30 days prior to filing the CR-102 Proposed Rule Making. The CR-101 is not required for all rule making (see RCW 34.05.310(4)).

CR-102: Proposed rule making—The CR-102 form can be used in 3 different capacities:

  • Original Notice—The agency notifies the public of a proposal it is considering and how the public can provide input to the process.
  • Supplemental Notice—The agency notifies the public that significant changes were made to the proposed rule previously filed. The significant changes are submitted to the Code Reviser's Office (CRO) for another publication in the WSR, and another hearing is held on the changes.
  • Continuance—The agency continues a proceeding that has already started by establishing a later time and place on the record. The agency may change the date or location (or both). The agency may never schedule an earlier date only delay a scheduled adoption date, never schedule an earlier date.

CR-103: Rule-making order—The CR-103 can be used in 2 different capacities:

  • Emergency Rule—The agency is putting a rule into effect or repealing an existing rule before the rule-making process can be completed through the regular course. An emergency rule expires automatically 120 days after filing; an emergency must exist for the rule to be effective; and an identical emergency rule may not be adopted in sequence unless conditions have changed.
  • Permanent Rule—A rule normally becomes effective 31 days after the rule is filed but may be effective later if stated on the CR-103. A rule may become effective earlier than 31 days after filing, but only if the agency establishes this in the adopting order and finds that:
    • Such action is required by the state or federal Constitution, a statute, or court order.
    • The rule only delays the effective date of another rule that is not yet effective.
    • or
    • The earlier effective date is necessary because of imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare. The finding and a brief statement of the reasons for the earlier effective date must be made a part of the order adopting the rule.

CR-105: Expedited rule making—The CR-105 is to be used for expedited adoption or repeal.


Effective date—The date an adopted rule goes into effect. Normally, a rule is effective 31 days after the CR-103 is filed with the Office of the Code Reviser for adoption. The rule may become effective before the 31st day if certain criteria apply (see RCW 34.05.380).

Emergency rule—An emergency rule is adopted without the required public notice and participation because of immediate danger to the public health safety and welfare. An emergency must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The rule must be immediately adopted, amended, or repealed to preserve public health, safety, or general welfare, and observing the notice requirements and opportunity to be heard is contrary to the public interest.
  • State or federal law, rules, or the deadline for the receipt of federal funds requires that the rule be adopted immediately.


Filing—The process of filing documents at the Office of the Code Reviser (OCR).

Filing cut-off date—The date when the CR-101 and CR-102 notices must be filed with the Office of the Code Reviser (OCR).


Hearing for public rule making—A hearing that gives the public an opportunity to testify on proposed rules. Public rule-making hearings follow a specific format and are recorded by stenographic, mechanical, or electronic means.


Interpretive rule—States an agency's interpretation of a statute. An interpretive rule does not subject a person to a penalty for violation of the rule.

Interpretive statement—An agency's written opinion about the meaning of a statute or other provision of law, a court decision, or an agency order.


JARRC (Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee)—A bipartisan committee of the state legislature charged with reviewing agency rules, policy statements, guidelines and issuance's of general applicability.


Law—A statement by the legislature or the courts that must be obeyed and followed by citizens. The laws of Washington State are contained in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).


Office of the Code Reviser (OCR)—The Office of the Code Reviser accepts filings; publishes rules; and determines the uniform numbering system, form, and style for proposed and adopted rules (see RCW 34.05.385).

Order Typing Service (OTS) Format—The format established by the Office of the Code Reviser that is followed for the typing of rules.


Permanent rule—The final rule that is adopted by an agency after receiving comments from the public.

Petition process—The formal process followed when requesting adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule (see RCW 34.05.325). You can obtain a petition by contacting the Office of Financial Management (OFM) or the Department of Licensing Rules Coordinator.

Policy statement—A written description of an agency's approach to implement a statute, court decision, or agency order.

Presiding officer—An individual assigned to conduct a hearing for receiving testimony on a proposed rule (see RCW 34.05.325).

Procedural rule—A procedural rule adopts, amends, or repeals any:

  • Procedure, practice, or requirement relating to agency hearings.
  • Filing or process requirement for making an application for a license or permit.
  • Policy statement pertaining to the internal operations of an agency.


Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA)—A requirement that state agencies review all proposed rules to determine their impact on small business (see RCW 19.85).

Repeal—Removal of an entire WAC section.

Rule—A legal document that carries out the intent of the law.

Rule-making docket—Information about each pending rule-making proceeding that is maintained by the Department of Licensing Rules Coordinator. It indicates all the rules adopted or in the process of adoption (see RCW 34.05.315).

Rules Coordinator—A staff person in the Department of Licensing Finance and Administration Division designated by the agency as having knowledge of the subjects of rules being proposed or prepared by the agency director.


Section—The third number grouping in a WAC citation. For example, in WAC 388-165-030, the section is "030." It is the smallest portion of a WAC that can be amended or repealed.

Significant legislative rule—Per RCW 34.05.328, this type of rule:

  • Adopts provisions of the law through delegated legislative authority.
  • Subjects a violator to a penalty or sanction.
  • Changes requirements for issuing, suspending, or revoking a license or a permit.
  • Adopts a new policy or a new regulatory program.
  • Amends a policy or a regulatory program.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement (SBEIS)
An analysis of the impact of a proposed rule impact (see RCW 19.85).

Subsection—A portion of a WAC section identified by a number in parenthesis.

Supplemental notice—Notifies interested parties that significant changes are being made to a proposed rule. It reopens the rule-making proceedings for additional public comment on the substantive changes made to the proposed rule.


Title—The first number grouping in a WAC citation. For example, in WAC 388-165-030, the title is "388."


Washington Administrative Code (WAC)—Also known as "rules" or "administrative rules." Agency rules are designed to help the public comply with state laws, processes, and other requirements.

Washington State Register (WSR)—Contains all proposed, emergency, amended, new, or repealed rules filed with the Office of the Code Reviser. The register is published the first and third Wednesday of the month.

Withdrawal—A written memo filed with the Office of the Code Reviser(OCR) that withdraws proposed rules from the rule-making process. If rules are not adopted within 180 days after publication of the text as last proposed in the Washington State Register, they will be withdrawn by OCR (see RCW 34.05.335).

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