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Rules & Legislation: What's the Difference?

The ASRS is guided by a set of official rules as well as state legislation. What’s the difference? Legislation is a law/statute created by the legislative branch of government, whereas a rule is a requirement imposed by an agency. State Statutes provide agencies the authority to create rules, which allow them to regulate or administer various government functions. Rules and legislation both carry the force of law. 

For example, state law declares that the ASRS shall provide retirement benefits to eligible members, but rules set by the ASRS explain how to submit a retirement application for eligible members to receive their retirement benefits.

How are the processes for developing each different? 


The processes for developing statutes and rules are different, but both rely heavily on public input. 

In the legislative process, a draft statute is introduced by a member of the legislature and heard by one or more committees of legislators. When the committee hears a draft statute, members of the public are provided an opportunity to present any questions or comments they may have about the draft statute. The committee hearing also allows legislators to ask questions and express comments about the legislation based on the interests and communities they represent.  

In the rulemaking process, an agency files a draft rule with the Secretary of State, who then publishes it in an administrative register so that members of the public have access and can contact the agency about the draft rule. Often, and/or on request by a member of the public, an agency will hold an oral proceeding where members of the public can make oral comments and ask questions about the draft rule. After a public comment period, the draft rule is filed with the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council. The Council members, appointed by the Governor and charged with reviewing all agency rules, then ensure the rules meet specific rulemaking standards, such as not exceeding the scope of the agency’s statutory authority.

(The full processes for developing statutes and rules can be found on the ASRS Legislation and Rules webpages.)

How often are we adding or changing rules and/or laws?


Every year on or before December 1, the ASRS publishes a Regulatory Agenda that outlines the rules it plans to create or update in the upcoming calendar year. The ASRS also publishes draft rules and notice of any oral proceedings at various stages of the rulemaking process on its Rules webpage. Members of the public and any other interested parties can also contact the Rules Writer at any time to ask questions or make comments about rules.  

Similarly, the ASRS publishes a Legislative Agenda that outlines the legislative initiatives the agency intends to pursue in the upcoming Legislative Session, which begins on the second Monday in January.  Likewise, members of the public and any other interested parties can also contact the Legislative Liaison at any time to ask questions or make comments about legislation.  

Finally, the ASRS reviews its rules at least every five years since each rule was adopted. These rule reviews are included on the Regulatory Agenda and provide members of the public an additional opportunity to provide input on the rule. The review report can be found on the rules webpage after the report is approved by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.  

For additional information on either Rules or Legislation, visit:

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