Definitions for rules

Read definitions for the terms we use when working on rules.

Rule definitions are alphabetical and all RCW links go to


Administrative policy—A rule that regulates the Department of Licensing's internal management and our employees' actions. Administrative policies don't apply to clients, vendors, or the public.

Administrative Procedure Act (APA)—The law describing what we must do when working on rules published in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), RCW 34.05. Under the APA, we must let the public and the legislature access our administrative decision-making process.

Adoption date—The date we file (adopt) a permanent or emergency rulemaking order 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—We may file a continuance on a CR-102 (proposed rulemaking) to change previously filed information, continue a proceeding by setting a later time and place on the record, or extend the rule adoption date (see RCW 34.05.335).

CR-101: Preproposal statement of inquiry—We use the CR-101 form to invite the public to participate and discuss possible rulemaking before giving formal notice or taking action. The CR-101 must be published in the Washington State Register (WSR) at least 30 days before we file the CR-102 (proposed rulemaking). The CR-101 isn't required for all rulemaking (see RCW 34.05.310(4)).

CR-102: Proposed rulemaking—We use the CR-102 form in 3 different ways:

  • Original notice—We notify the public about a proposal we're considering and how they can participate.
  • Supplemental notice—We notify the public about significant changes to a proposed rule that we filed in the past. We submit the significant changes to the Code Reviser's Office (CRO) for another publication in the Washington State Register (WSR), and we hold another hearing about the changes.
  • Continuance—We continue a proceeding that already started by setting a later time and place on the record. We may change the date, location, or both. We can't schedule an earlier date; we can only delay a scheduled adoption date.

CR-103: Adopted rulemaking order—We use the CR-103 form in 2 different ways:

  • Emergency rule—We put a rule into effect or repeal an existing rule before completing the full rulemaking process. An emergency rule expires automatically 120 days after we file it. There must be an emergency for the rule to be effective. We can't adopt the same emergency rule twice in a row unless conditions have changed.
  • Permanent rule—A rule normally goes into effect 31 days after we file it. A rule may go into effect later if we write a later date on the CR-103. A rule may go into effect earlier than 31 days after filing, but only if we write this in the adopting order and decide that:
    • The state or federal Constitution, a statute, or court order requires this rule to go into effect early.
    • The rule only delays the date when another rule will go into effect.
    • It's necessary for the rule to go into effect early because of immediate danger to public health, safety, or welfare. We must include our findings and the reasons for the earlier effective date with our order adopting the rule.

CR-105: Expedited rulemaking—We use the CR-105 form for quickly adopting or repealing a rule under certain conditions (see RCW 34.05.353). These include:

  • Correcting typos
  • Adopting federal regulations without major changes
  • Setting or changing fees required by law


Effective date—The date an adopted rule goes into effect. Normally, a rule is effective 31 days after we file the CR-103 (adopted rulemaking order) with the Office of the Code Reviser. However, there are 2 exceptions:

  • A rule may go into effect before the 31st day under certain conditions (see RCW 34.05.380).
  • A rule may go into effect after the 31st day if the CR-103 specifies a later date.

Emergency rule—We adopt an emergency rule without the required public notice and participation because of immediate danger to public health, safety, and welfare. An emergency must meet at least one of these requirements:

  • We must immediately adopt, amend, or repeal a rule to protect public health, safety, or general welfare. Additionally, the notice requirements and opportunity to be heard must be against the public interest.
  • State or federal law, rules, or the deadline for getting federal funds requires us to adopt the rule immediately.


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

Filing cutoff date—The date when we must file the CR-101 and CR-102 notices with the Office of the Code Reviser (OCR).


Hearing for public rulemaking—A hearing that gives the public an opportunity to give input about proposed rules. Public rulemaking hearings follow a specific format and are recorded by stenographic, mechanical, or electronic means.


Interpretive rule—Our interpretation of a law. An interpretive rule doesn't require penalties for people who violate it.

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


JARRC (Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee)—A bipartisan committee of the state legislature that reviews agency rules, policy statements, guidelines, and other administrative decisions that affect customers.


Law—A statement from the legislature or courts that citizens must follow. Washington's laws are part of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).


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

Order Typing Service (OTS) Format—The format for typing rules. The Office of the Code Reviser created this format.


Permanent rule—The final rule we adopt after public comments.

Petition process—The way you can ask us to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule (see RCW 34.05.325). Email our rules coordinator at to request rule changes or new rules.

Policy statement—A written description of our plan to implement a law, court decision, or agency order.

Presiding officer—A person who conducts a hearing to receive testimony on a proposed rule (see RCW 34.05.325).

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

  • Procedure, practice, or requirement about agency hearings
  • Filing or process requirement to apply for a license or permit
  • Policy statement about our internal operations


Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA)—A law that requires us to review all proposed rules to see how they impact small businesses (see RCW 19.85).

Repeal—Removal of an entire WAC section.

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

Rulemaking docket—Information about each pending rulemaking proceeding. It shows all the rules we have adopted or are in the process of adopting (see RCW 34.05.315). Our rules coordinator updates this docket.

Rules coordinator—A staff person from the Policy and Legislative Unit of our Director's Office. They know about the subjects of rules that our agency director is proposing or preparing.


Section—The third number grouping in a WAC citation. For example, in WAC 388-165-030, the section is "030." It is the smallest part of a WAC that we can amend or repeal.

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

  • Adopts provisions of the law through the authority that the legislature gives us.
  • Requires penalties for people who violate the rule.
  • Changes requirements for issuing, suspending, or revoking a license or a permit.
  • Creates a new policy or a new regulatory program.
  • Changes a policy or a regulatory program.

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

Subsection—Part of a WAC section identified by a number in parentheses.

Supplemental notice—Tells people that we're making significant changes to a proposed rule. It reopens the rulemaking proceedings for more public comments on the changes 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 help the public follow state laws, processes, and other requirements.

Washington State Register (WSR)—Has all proposed, emergency, amended, new, or repealed rules we file with the Office of the Code Reviser (OCR). The OCR publishes the register on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

Withdrawal—A written memo that we file with the Office of the Code Reviser (OCR) to withdraw proposed rules from the rulemaking process. If we don't adopt the proposed rules (CR-102) within 180 days after publishing them in the Washington State Register, the OCR will withdraw them (see RCW 34.05.335).

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