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(1) A continuing departmental program for public participation shall include methods of implementing each of the functions listed in this rule. The exact method may vary in relation to resources available, public response, or the nature of issues involved:

(a) Informational materials - each division of the department shall provide continuing policy, program and technical information at the earliest practicable times and at places easily accessible to interested or affected persons and organizations so that they can make informal and constructive contributions to department decision-making. New releases and other publications may be used for this purpose as well as informational discussions and meetings with interested citizens' groups. Special efforts shall be made to summarize complex technical materials for public and media use.

(b) Assistance to public - each division shall have a procedure for providing technical and information assistance to concerned groups and individuals. Requests for information shall be promptly handled.

(c) Notification - each division shall maintain, for its appropriate areas of responsibility, a current list of interested persons and organizations including any who have requested inclusion on such list for the distribution of information such as that listed in paragraph (a) of this rule. This shall be in addition to the lists now maintained as required by the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. The department shall, in addition, notify any interested persons of any public hearing or other decision-making proceedings prior to decision-making and wherever possible shall supplement this notification with informal notice to all interested persons or groups having requested such notice in advance.

(d) Access to information - the department files, other than personnel files and those files required by law or requirements of personal privacy to remain confidential, are open to public inspection in accordance with established Department of Commerce policy. These files are located at the department office in Helena. Copies of specific documents are available either free or for a reasonable copying charge plus employee time.

(e) Rulemaking - in addition to any other requirements, the department shall comply with the requirements of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act.

(f) Other measures - the listing of specific measures in this section shall not preclude additional methods for obtaining, encouraging or assisting public participation.

History: 2-3-103, MCA; IMP, 2-3-103, MCA; Eff. 5/6/76.

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