The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) was passed in 1980 and reauthorized in 1986 and 1995. Its history has been inextricably linked with the history of regulatory review and presidential oversight of agency decisions. However, the intent of those who passed it was for it to be even broader: to bring rationality to the management of information within the executive branch. In the years since its passage, it has been a statute that is often forgotten and frequently mocked as ineffective or even counterproductive, most directly because, by any measure, information collection by the federal government has skyrocketed since enactment of the PRA.
Last September, I was selected as a consultant for the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) to work on an assessment of the PRA. I came to the project after extensive work with the PRA ….