The Federal Register has published the FCC’s request for the thoughts of interested parties on new requirements that perhaps should be placed on those filing comments on FCC matters. Specifically, FCC wonders if when citing a source of one kind or another, the correspondent should be required to also submit the source material.
Making it into the Federal Register has allowed the FCC to put deadlines on the comment period. Initial remarks are due 1/9/12, and reply comments will be due 1/23/12.
The FCC is attempting to make its proceedings as transparent as possible. In some recent complex matters, it thought it was serving the public convenience by assembling material referenced by commenters and making it available to the public.
However, this was seen by some on Capitol Hill as just the opposite – as a burden placed on interested parties who suddenly were faced with what appeared to be a last-minute data dump.
The FCC believes that perception can be avoided if the commenter provides the material along with the comments in the first place, but acknowledges that there are all kinds of procedural questions about putting such a requirement in place, and wonders if imposing such a burden on commenters would be worth it.
So now, thanks to the Federal Register, the docket is now open to all who would like to comment on commenting.