Press Release: Administrative Codes and Registers Section of NASS Honors the Iowa Legislative Services Agency as the 2022 Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award Winner

Iowa Team

Members from Iowa’s Legal Services Division, Computer Services Division, and Process Improvement Office involved with this project – Names from the left: Mathew Kakavas, Magesh Natarajan, Geetha Nagarajan, Emily Kramer, Roger Karns, and Jack Ewing.

For Immediate Release
July 10, 2022


Washington, D.C. —  The Administrative Codes and Registers (ACR) Section of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) awarded the Iowa Legislative Services Agency the 2022 Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award at the association’s annual conference for their work with the state’s Administrative Codes and Registers.

Iowa has undertaken this project as an ongoing effort by the Legal Services Division of the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency of the Iowa General Assembly (GA), to comprehensively determine and report on all possibly required rulemaking by executive branch agencies that results from legislation newly enacted in the GA’s annual sessions. Reports on this information are provided to the GA’s Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) and to affected state agencies.

This project was designed to determine possibly required rulemaking emanating from bills enacted in each legislative session. Drafters prepare charts for each bill noting whether rulemaking may be involved, the statute affected, the relevant agency relevant existing rules any current rulemakings, etc. The charts are continually updated across the process. In 2021, a new, in-house, web-based tool was used by the drafters to usher charts through the process and can accommodate work spanning across multiple years.

The new rules analysis tool represents a significant leap forward in process and efficiency. Where once there were stacks of paper documents, each of which had to be updated individually, the system is now largely paperless and interfaces directly with our rulemaking databases, and individualized reports for each affected agency can be generated automatically. The outgrowth of this project provides a significant response to the issue of untimely rulemaking and an impressive logistical achievement. Feedback from users of the tool has been uniformly positive.

Citizen benefits – Ensures that rules required by legislation are codified in a timely manner, which in turn ensures prompt access to new regulatory requirements that the public has access to rules that are substantively and technically up to date and accurate.

Executive branch agencies benefits – Provides additional input on legislation relevant to the agency and rules adopted by the agency to ensure that statutory changes affecting an agency are not missed.

Legislator benefits – Ensures that enacted bills are implemented in a timely and accurate manner while also providing more data points for possible use during the legislature’s oversight through the Administrative Rules Review Committee.

Because of these homegrown innovative features, the ACR Awards Committee has selected the Iowa Legislative Services Agency as this year’s Colborn Award recipient for their work on the capturing all necessary rulemakings due to enacted legislation and then informing the appropriate state agencies of the rulemaking expectations for timely codification.

Administrative Codes and Registers (ACR), a section of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), created the Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award in July 2001 in honor of Robert J. Colborn, Jr., who served as the administrator of the Maryland Division of State Documents from 1974 through 2001 and founded ACR. The Robert J. Colborn, Jr. Innovation Award annually recognizes a program that demonstrates creativity and innovation in providing public access to, or managing, administrative rules. It honors the state agency that has made substantial contributions to the flow of information to the public by improving efficiency and delivery of services to citizens, businesses, and other governmental entities.

“The Iowa Legislative Services Agency is honored to receive the Colborn Innovation Award for our administrative rules analysis process and application. We would like to thank the ACR Section of NASS for recognizing our process to track rulemaking implicated by enacted legislation as well as our new application which has both modernized our data management and led to significant work process efficiencies in our annual rule analysis project.”

– Tim McDermott, Director of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency

2022 ACR Awards Committee – Robert J. Colborn Jr. Innovation Award:
Awards Chair: Trinette Middlebrook, Administrative Rules Specialist
State of Idaho, Department of Health and Welfare
Phone: (208) 334-0440

Awards Committee Member: Frank Powell
Administrative Rules Specialist
State of Idaho, Department of Health and Welfare
Phone: (208) 334-5775