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ARM Glossary

This glossary provides brief definitions of terms.

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adjective rules Rules adopted in accordance with Title 2, MCA, and under express or implied authority to codify an interpretation of a statute.  Such interpretation lacks the force of law.  Any rule promulgated under delegated rulemaking power is legislative rather than interpretive.
administrative order The document filed with the Secretary of State showing which rules are affected, and the action taken for each rule. Filed at the time the notice of final agency action is filed. Transmittal document, not for publication.
Administrative Rules Review Committees

The Administrative Rules Review Committee reviews all agency rules filed with the secretary of state for compliance with the statutes.  They review the rules for content and form as stated in section 2-4-402, MCA.

The committee may submit written or oral testimony at the hearing and provide written comments to the agency regarding concerns and recommendations.  It may require that a rulemaking hearing be held.  It may institute, intervene in, or otherwise participate in proceedings involving state and federal courts and administrative agencies and review the incidence and conduct of administrative proceedings under this chapter.           

Upon the request of the Administrative Rules Review Committee, an agency shall prepare a statement of the estimated economic impact of the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule as proposed.  This statement must include: the cost to the state for administering and enforcing the rule; the aggregate cost of compliance to all persons affected; and any economic benefit of compliance to all persons affected.


Used with new rules. Initially creates a brand new rule. Abbreviated "NEW" in a history note and on an administrative order.

adoption by reference An agency may adopt by reference any model code, agency rule, rule of any agency of this state or other similar publication if the publication of the model code, rule, or other publication would be unduly cumbersome, expensive, or otherwise inexpedient.  This provision is very lengthy but can be reviewed at 2-4-307, MCA.
adoption notice The adoption notice contains all comments to the proposal rule notice and the department's responses to the comments and any changes to the adoption, amendment and/or repeal of the rules as proposed in the proposal notice.  The adoption notice is filed with the Secretary of State for publication in the MAR.  This must be at least 30 days after the proposal notice was published in the MAR.
.adp Part of the file naming convention required by the Secretary of State to indicate that an e-filed document is a notice of final agency action.
amend Used with existing rules that are being modified. Abbreviated "AMD" in a history note and on an administrative order.
.ao Part of the file naming convention required by the Secretary of State to indicate that an e-filed document is an administrative order.
ARM Acronym for the Administrative Rules of Montana. A loose-leaf publication, published by the Secretary of State and updated quarterly at the end of each calendar quarter (March 31, June 30, September 30, December 31). Analogous to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
Authority Statute This statute gives the department authority to adopt rules within that particular chapter of the Administrative Rules of Montana.
authorizing citation

The reference to the MCA section(s) that expressly grant(s) an agency or program authority to adopt rules. Every rule must be authorized by at least one statute. Abbreviated "AUTH" in rule notices, but is not abbreviated for history notes. The AUTH cite is what follows the History portion of the history note.


biennial review Each agency shall review at least biennially its rules to determine if any new rule should be adopted or any existing rule should be modified or repealed.
bill sponsor notice A MAPA requirement that the first time an agency undertakes rulemaking action in response to a piece of legislation, the agency contact the prime sponsor of the legislation to let the sponsor know that the agency is beginning to start work on the rulemaking process.


catchline See catchphrase.

The "title" of the rule. Underlined and all capitalized. Preferred to "catchline."

close of comment The public has 28 days from the date of proposed notice publication in which to submit written or oral comments.
comment period The time during which an agency is accepting comments from the public or governmental entities, before an agency takes final action on a proposed rule change. Comments can be in writing (either "hard copy" or electronic) during the comment period, or orally, if given during a public hearing.


delete The term used to show that an agency proposes to eliminate some (but not all) of the text or other material in a rule. Shown by an interlineation [strike-throughs], i.e., old language deleted.
department policies

Policies are developed to outline the internal operating process of an agency.  As a rule, they reflect internal operations rather than a requirement of the public.  However, when adopting rules consider whether the department has a policy, which affects the subject matter of the rule proposal.  The department policies may not control the provisions of the proposed rule but the proposed rule may impact or interact with related department policies.  Therefore, a determination should be made as to whether the proposed rule will require changes to related policies.

division This a program within the department.  Montana law refers to the designation of an agency as: department; division; bureau; and section.  Division is the correct term to use when referring to a specific "program area" in the Administrative Rules of Montana.



The subdivision signals in a rule. The standard outline form that is required. The form is (1),( 2), (3), etc, then (a), (b), (c), etc., then (i), (ii), (iii), etc., then (A), (B), (C), etc. If you need more sublevels than that, the rule should be broken into a number of smaller/shorter rules.

effective date

This is the date a rule becomes effective.  A rule is effective on the day following publication of the Notice in the MAR, unless a later date is required by statute or specified in the Notice.

emergency rules An agency may adopt rules under the emergency provisions of the code if it determines that there is imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare.  This may be accomplished by less than 30 days notice.  The agency must state in writing its reasons for that finding.  Section 2-4-303, MCA.  The rule may not be effective for more than 120 days, but the adoption of an identical rule may follow.
estimated economic impact

The statement required anytime a fee or benefit is changed, which not only gives the net impact, but also lists the estimated number of persons affected by the change. Required by MAPA, if the rule has to do with money.


federal statutes

These are laws enacted by the United States Congress and signed by the President.  They are generally contained in the United States Code Annotated (USCA).  The codes are available on the Internet at several web sites.

federal regulations These are the rules enacted by federal agencies.  They are the federal equivalent of the Administrative Rules of Montana.  Federal regulations are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  They are available through Internet web sites.  Federal regulations generally are published in the Federal Register and the hard copy is available at the State Law Library.
federal policies Because federal law is more liberal than state law in allowing agencies to enforce rules or standards through policies, which have not been promulgated as rules, much federal law exists in the form of written policies.  These policies may be contained in various federal manuals.  If policies are utilized in a federal program the department works with, be sure to review the policy manuals or materials relating to that program when drafting rules for the department.  If a federal law issue is identified, consider seeking federal guidance or an opinion prior to deciding upon the provisions of the proposed rule.
filing The filing of a rule notice with the Secretary of State.  The Secretary of State determines the filing dates for the agency at the beginning of each year.
filing date The date set as the deadline to electronically submit Notices to the Secretary of State's Administrative Rules Bureau to get in to a particular issue of the MAR. Usually Mondays, at noon. A schedule of the filing dates for a given year is prepared by the Secretary of State in the Fall of the previous year.


history note

The information contained in parentheses following a rule in the ARM. It not only shows the authorizing and implementing citations, but also shows when a rule was first adopted and each subsequent action (amend, transfer or repeal), along with the page number of MAR issue where the notice of final agency action was printed and the action's effective date.


implement an MCA

Means to flesh it out, explain it further, or fulfill its purpose, make it work or work better, interpret it, and carry it into effect.

implementing citation

The reference to the MCA section(s) that the rule purports to be carrying out [implementing], explaining, describing a process or defining some statutory term. Every rule must implement at least one statute. Abbreviated "IMP" in rule notices and the history note.

information committees Prior to the official notice filed with the Secretary of State, an agency may use information committees or public interest groups as a means of obtaining the viewpoints and advice of interested persons with respect to the agency's intended actions.  Section 2-4-304, MCA.  Agency appointed committees' powers are advisory only.
interpretive rules Rules adopted in accordance with Title 2, MCA, and under express or implied authority to codify an interpretation of a statute.  Such interpretation lacks the force of law.  Any rule promulgated under delegated rulemaking power is legislative rather than interpretive.


justification Each rule should have its own justification unless the adoption is based on a statutory change and the entire set of rules is being established to comply with that action.  Section 2-4-305, MCA


Legislative authority The Legislature may, by joint resolution, repeal any rule in ARM.  If a rule is repealed, the Legislature shall in the joint resolution state its objections to the repealed rule.  If an agency adopts a new rule to replace the repealed rule, the agency shall adopt the new rule in accordance with the objections stated by the Legislature in the joint resolution.  If the Legislature does not repeal a rule filed with it before the adjournment of that regular session, the rule remains valid. The Legislature may also direct a change in an existing rule or require an agency to adopt a new rule.  The rules required to be adopted, amended, or repealed must conform to statutory authority of the agency.  Section 2-4-402, MCA.

Notice is sent to all interest parties of department rulemaking actions.  It is also placed on the Internet Webpage. The law requires the agency to provide this notice within three days of the date of publication in the MAR. 

MAPA Acronym for the Montana Administrative Procedure Act (Title 2, chapter 4, MCA).
MAR This is the publication entitled "Montana Administrative Register" which is published twice a month, 24 times a year, by the Secretary of State.  This publication contains a notice section; rule section; and special notice and table section. Analogous to the Federal Register.
MAR notice number A two or three part designation of a particular rulemaking project. The first number refers to the ARM Title, the second to the chapter (when a three part number), and the third is a sequential number. An example is MAR Notice No. 24-29-162, which means that the notice concerns rules in ARM Title 24, chapter 29, rule project 162.

Acronym for the Montana Code Annotated. The compilation of the statutes enacted by the Legislature.


notices Each notice of proposed adoption, amendment, or repeal must consist of rules that do not unnecessarily repeat statutory language.  The rules must provide rulemaking authority and implementation citations and a justification of the "necessity" for the rulemaking.  Section 2-4-302, MCA.
notice number

See MAR notice number

notice of final agency action See adoption notice
notice of proposed action See proposal notice


organizational rules Rules describing an agency's organization or procedural functions.  These rules do not require the notice and hearing process as required for the legislative and interpretive rules. The first rules filed in each title (volume) are the organizational rules.



Part of the file naming convention required by the Secretary of State to indicate that an e-filed document is notice of proposed action.

procedural rules These are the second rules filed in each title.  These rules may include the adoption of the Attorney General's model rules, if the agency adopted them.  Sections 2-4-102; 2-4-201; and 2-4-308, MCA.
proposal notice The document that proposes to take action on one or more new or existing rules. Such a notice will typically be a Notice of Public Hearing, but can also be presented as a Notice of Proposed Amendment, with no public hearing contemplated.
publication Ten days after filing the notice with the Secretary of State the notice is published in the Montana Administrative Register (MAR).  The Secretary of State determines this date.
publication date The date that an issue of the MAR is "published" and sent to subscribers.
public hearing An open meeting designed to allow interested persons to make comments for, against, or otherwise, regarding a proposed rule action. Persons are allowed to make oral or written comments. If desired, a public hearing may be held no sooner than 20 days after the date of publication.  A public hearing must be held when requested by 10% or 25, whichever is less, of the persons directly affected by the proposed rule; a governmental subdivision or agency; an association having no less than 25 members who will be directly affected; the Administrative Rules Review Committee.
public inspection Each agency shall make available for public inspection all rules and all other written statements of policy or interpretations formulated, adopted, or used by the agency in the normal course of business. Upon request of any person, the agency must provide a copy of any rule. Unless provided by statute the agency may request payment of the cost of providing such copies. No agency rule is valid or effective against any person or party whose rights have been substantially prejudiced by an agency's failure to comply with the public inspection requirements.  Section 2-4-103, MCA.


repeal Used only with existing rules, and eliminates the rule in its entirety. Abbreviated "REP" in a history note and in an administrative order.
replacement page

Replacement pages for the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) are prepared for submission to the Secretary of State at the end of every calendar quarter.  These pages are the current pages of the ARM.

Replacement pages are the updated ARM pages that show all of the "clean copy" of the rules text that became final during the calendar quarter, and submitted by or before the last day of that quarter. The term includes pages being transferred from one place in the ARM to another. Tables of contents and cross-reference table pages are also submitted on a replacement page basis.

reserved chapter The blank or unused numbering sometimes intentionally left between rules, to allow for future expansion of rules.
reserved rule The blank or unused numbering sometimes intentionally left between rules, to allow for future expansion of rules.

Part of the file naming convention required by the Secretary of State to indicate that an e-filed document is a replacement page for the ARM.


Rule is short for administrative rule. A rule is enacted by an executive or judicial branch governmental entity, pursuant to express, delegated authority of the Legislature or the Montana Constitution. When properly adopted, caries the force of law. Rules "flesh out" the procedures and processes described in statute. Rules cannot contradict statutes. Rules cannot impose additional requirements beyond those provided by statute. Each rule has to be specifically authorized in a statute, and each rule has to implement one or more statutes.

A rule is each agency's regulation, standard, or statement of general applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy or describes the organization, procedures, or practice requirements of an agency.  The term includes the amendment or repeal of a prior rule but does not include:

(a)     statements concerning only the internal management of an agency and not affecting private rights or procedures available to the public; or

(b)     declaratory rulings as to the applicability of any statutory provision or of any rule.

Specific types of rules are:

rule reviewer

The director appoints the agency rule reviewer in accordance with 2-4-110, MCA and ARM 1.2.519.  This person is responsible for review and approval of all agency rules and must sign all notices with the director. The rule reviewer should be an appropriately trained person (often an attorney) who reviews proposed rule changes and certifies that the proposed changes are within the statutory authority of the agency, that the rule changes proposed correctly cite authorizing and implementing authorities, and the statement(s) of reasonable necessity meet required standards.


Secretary of State (SOS)

Each agency shall file with the Secretary of State a copy of each rule adopted by it.  The secretary of state prescribes the format and style for the administrative rules.  In the event the Administrative Rules Review Committee have conducted a poll of the Legislature, the results of the poll shall be published with the rule.

Each rule shall become effective the day after publication in the register, except if a later date is required by statute or specified in the rule, the later date shall be the effective date.  Subject to applicable constitutional and statutory provisions, if an agency finds that an earlier effective date is necessary because of imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare, an emergency rule shall become effective immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State or at a stated date following the publication in the register. The agency's findings and a brief statement of reasons therefore shall be filed with the rule.  The agency shall take appropriate measures to make the emergency rule known to every person who may be affected by them.

When working with rules, state agencies deal with the Administrative Rules and Management Services Division of the Secretary of State's office. Contacts include:

  • Laura Vachowski, Chief Deputy
  • Tom Kreissler, Editorial Assistant
  • Stevey Still, Web Developer

six month cutoff

If no action has been taken on a rule within six months from the date of the first publication, the rule process must be started over and a new proposal notice filed before any further action may be taken.

state administrative rules These are the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM).  The State Law Library contains a complete set of all the rules for Montana.  The ARM may not control the provisions of the proposed rule, consider how the proposed rule will impact or interact with other related ARM provisions in the department, including potential changes to other rules administered by other divisions within the department.
statement of reasonable necessity

A narrative statement that not only explains what a rule change is doing, but also explains why the rule change is needed to be made at this time (rather than being changed at a later date). Required in the proposal notice for every rule action other than changes to an organizational rule.

strike out The term used to show that an agency proposes to eliminate some (but not all) of the text or other material in a rule. Shown by an interlineation [strike-throughs], i.e., old language deleted.
substantive rules Legislative rules, which are adopted in accordance with Title 2, MCA, have the force of law and when not so adopted are invalid.


temporary rules

If a statute is enacted or amended to be effective before October 1, of the year of enactment or amendment and the agency is required to establish rules, it may propose a temporary rule before October 1 of that year.  Rules of this nature become effective the day after publication in the register.


  • Department files notice of temporary adoption on April 6, 1992;
  • Secretary of State publishes notice on April 16, 1992;
  • Department may file final notice of adoption of this temporary rule on May 18, 1992; and
  • Rule is effective on May 19, 1992 and is good until October 1, 1992.

In order for the agency to enforce the rule after that date it must adopt a permanent rule to replace the temporary rule before October 1.  Section 2-4-303, MCA.

transfer A process used to renumber an existing rule and move it within or among ARM titles. ARM numbers cannot be re-used, once a given number has been assigned. Rules can be transferred within an ARM Title [re-organized and/or moved to a different place in the agency's rule], or transferred from one agency to another. Abbreviated "TRANS" in a history note or in an administrative order.


underscored The underlining of text, used to indicate material that is being added to a rule, i.e., new material underlined.