Grassroots Advocacy Tool Kit - Courtesy of BMS


Once a legislative body passes a bill, it becomes a law. Federal, state, and local agencies then create rules by which those laws are implemented. These regulatory agencies carry out those laws through the development and enforcement of rules, also referred to as regulations. Think about all aspects of an automobile – how it is built, what makes it run? The legislative and the regulatory processes are similar to that automobile. The legislative process builds the framework of the car and the regulatory process builds the engine that makes it run. The Difference Between a Statute, a Regulation, and a Policy Guidance On both a federal and state level, a law is referred to as a statute. A statute is a law passed by Congress or the state legislature. A regulation or rule adopted by an administrative or regulatory agency, outlines how a statute will be enforced. The legislative process creates the law, and the agencies develop regulations. Regulations are written at both the federal and state levels. Whether you advocated for the passage of legislation or in opposition to it, it is important to follow the law through the regulatory process. Legislation might be very broad, but the regulations that accompany that law are often very specific. You can help educate healthcare regulators on the impact a regulation will have in your particular state or county, and they need to hear from you. Regulatory agencies often create policies, too, and you can advocate for changes to policies that aren’t necessarily bound by either legislation or regulation, often referred to as ‘policy guidance’.

Policy guidance happens when a regulatory agency uses their own discretion to make a decision or change, and these types of decisions do not require legislation or regulation. It is important to understand the differences before creating your action plans.


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