Notice of Rulemaking Procedures

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Model rocketry contests in the United States are governed by the U.S. Model Rocket Sporting Code, a booklet known as The Pink Book. The rules in the Pink Book are revised every year. The procedures published here explain how the rules are rewritten, and how you can have a voice in the process. The NAR Contest Board oversees the project. If you have questions about the Pink Book revision process, contact the NAR Rules Revision Chairman.

F.1. Purpose

The purpose of the Rules Proposal (RP) Procedures is to assist the NAR Contest Board in monitoring and accomplishing rules revisions through an open process that encourages member participation and feedback. The responsibility of the Contest Board is to provide the U.S. Model Rocket Sporting Code standards and policy that will promote the healthy development of the competitive hobby of model rocketry.

F.2. General Considerations for Rules Proposals

Proposals submitted in the RP process should be reviewed by all interested members for ambiguities in scoring, judging, and interpretation. Contest Board members should openly discuss rule change proposals with as many members as possible to obtain input on the merits or faults in the proposed new rules. Care should be taken by members proposing and reviewing rule change proposals to avoid generating rules that overlap or conflict with general rules covering all contest events.

F.3. Analysis of Proposals

The following are example criteria the Contest Board may use in analyzing each new rules proposal:

  • Manufacturing – Will current models or equipment tend to become obsolete or no longer useful?
  • Protests – Will the change tend to eliminate a source of protests or are protests more likely?
  • Model Processing Time – Will the change tend to increase or decrease time required to process models at a meet?
  • Designs – Will the builder be given more or less freedom in design?
  • Contests – Will the time and effort required to conduct a contest be increased or decreased?
  • Present models – Will a modeler be able to effectively compete with current models, or will he have to build new ones?
  • Effect on Competition – Will the net effect of the proposed change be to encourage or discourage contest participation?
  • Effect on Skill Level – Will the modeler be encouraged to develop new skills and construction techniques?

F.4. Schedule

These procedures provide for a one-year schedule, which begins on September 1 of each year, for the review and adoption of Rules Proposals.

F.5. Advisory Committees to the Contest Board

The National Contest Board Chairman may appoint advisory committee(s) and a chair to assist the Contest Board in the development of a RP. These committees will operate in accordance with the Contest Board Procedures.

The Contest Board Chair will strive to achieve maximum utilization of existing special interest groups or individuals when selecting advisory committee members. The Contest Board Chair will determine the tenure of advisory committees. The National Contest Board Chair will appoint a Rules Revision Chair to oversee the RP process.

F.6. Proposal Preparation and Submittal

Any NAR member may submit an RP by filing a completed Rules Change Proposal Form with the Rules Revision Chairman (RRC). Upon receipt of the proposal it will be reviewed by the RRC to assure that it has been properly submitted (clearly stated proposal; name, address, and signature of proposer). If the proposal, as submitted, does not pass the review, then it will be returned to the author along with a checklist explaining deficiencies and proper filing procedures. The RRC will process the submittal in a timely manner and will send the author an acknowledgment of receipt within 30 days.

F.7. Types of Proposals

There are two basic types of proposals:

  • REGULAR RULES REVISION PROPOSAL – May be filed by any NAR member. If adopted, the new rules go into effect with the next edition of the Pink Book.
  • SAFETY, EMERGENCY, URGENT OR INTERPRETATION PROPOSALS – May be filed by any NAR member, but because of the relatively longer time required to get a rule change through the normal process, there are alternate paths for revision, which may be enacted quickly if the situation dictates.

The RRC will determine which of these two categories a proposal should fall into, based on the content of the proposal and the perceived dangers of delaying action on the proposal. Proposals addressing problems that might result in the loss of life, injury, or property damage will be given SAFETY status. The intent of SAFETY proposals is to quickly modify a rule to create a safer flying environment.

Proposals addressing problems that might affect the integrity of the national competition structure will be given EMERGENCY status. The intent of an EMERGENCY proposal is to quickly modify an existing or proposed rule to prevent a significant disruption to the Contest Year, National Championships, or to otherwise ensure all competitors can compete in a fair manner. EMERGENCY proposals may only be used when the time-sensitive nature of the issue does not allow the proposal to be processed under URGENT or REGULAR rules change proposals.

An URGENT proposal is one that is neither an interpretation nor is it necessarily related to safety. It will constitute an actual change in the rules and therefore the justification behind this type of proposal must be scrutinized, as always, to prevent abuse.

An INTERPRETATION proposal will not alter an existing rule but would provide information designed to clarify it. It deals with interpretations of the rules, or ways in which the rules are applied in the field. URGENT and INTERPRETATION proposals will be dealt with as described in F.8.B below.

F.8. General Procedure of Safety, Emergency, Urgent and Interpretation Proposals

Proposals may be put in force immediately if the National Contest Board Chairman, Rules Revision Chairman and the President concur that the action is necessary. Notice of the action and its rationale behind will be communicated to NAR members. Any SAFETY or EMERGENCY proposal enacted as set forth above will remain in effect under temporary status until acted upon by the Board of Trustees.

Proposals may be put in force immediately if the National Contest Board Chairman, Regional Contest Board Chairman, and the Rules Revision Chairman concur that the action is necessary. Notice of the action and its rationale behind will be communicated to NAR members.

Situations judged by the RRC as cases where rules do not seem to cover areas they should, may be applied to more than would be intended, or seem to lack the logic and/or intent, and do not qualify under part (A), and require immediate action may be enacted immediately based upon a 2/3 vote in favor of the Contest Board listed above. When an RP illustrates an issue that requires immediate action and is not sufficient as written (e.g., it does not cover the areas it should, may be applied to more than one section of the Pink Book, or lack complete logic to fully implement as written), the RRC can submit it to the Contest Board for review, changes and ratification by a 2/3 vote of the group consisting of the Contest Board Chair, the RRC, and the NAR President.

If the proposal does not receive a majority approval for immediate action, it will be retained and is eligible for consideration as a Regular Rules revision in the normal one-year cycle. All requests for SAFETY, EMERGENCY, INTERPRETATION or URGENT rules shall be submitted on the standard proposal form or a facsimile that contains all of the required information. All SAFETY, EMERGENCY, INTERPRETATION or URGENT rules adopted by the National Contest Board will be included in the next printing of the Pink Book.

F.9. General Procedure or Regular Rules Revision Proposals

Upon receipt of a completed Rules Change Proposal Form, the RRC shall review the proposal for acceptability. The RRC will ensure that the intent is clearly stated and that the language and format is suitable for inclusion in the Pink Book. The proposed rule revision must not result in a rules revision that violates the Safety Code or general safety guidelines. If the new proposal affects more than one rule or event, then the author must clearly address each of the changes necessary to implement the proposal. If the proposal is deficient in any of these areas, then the RRC may return it to the author with comments or suggestions for presenting it properly. The RRC will process the submittal in a timely manner and will send the author an acknowledgment of receipt within 30 days.

F.10. Voting and Vote Tabulation for Regular Rules Revisions

The reviewed proposals will be communicated to NAR members and will be placed in the normal cycle for Regular Rules revisions. The Final Vote will be conducted by the RRC through an electronic survey (E-Survey) ballot sent to the membership. The E-Survey will contain a listing of the proposals having passed the Initial Vote. It shall contain web links to the full original RCP submission and to any public comments about the RCP. It shall state the deadline for voting. The deadline shall be set so that it is no less than 30 days after the E-Survey has been sent to the membership.

The communication of a regular rules revision for comment will occur no less than three (3) months prior to the Final E-Survey so that there is ample time for the membership to discuss the merits of each proposal.

Every NAR member is entitled to one vote. Only votes cast on the official E-Survey will be tabulated. Each survey vote may be submitted only by voting members and the member will have to enter his/her NAR license number. E-Survey votes can not be submitted after the deadline. The RRC will review the votes cast for and against each individual proposal. Each proposal that receives two-thirds (66.7%) or greater “Yes” votes will be deemed to have been approved and will be included in the upcoming Pink Book revision.

F.11. Proposal Editing

To encourage member participation and discussion, the RRC or designee shall present the proposals received prior to the September 1 deadline to the competition community by posting on the NAR web page, and in other suitable manners such as posting in an online forum. The purpose of all of the member participation efforts is to allow for maximum input and suggestions for changes that increase the quality of the proposed revision.

The RRC may, at any time prior to a vote, edit proposal wording for purposes of clarity or to minimize misunderstandings and ambiguities, where the RRC deems it necessary. Whenever possible, editing should be done early in the rulemaking process. The RRC shall not edit the proposal in such a manner that its intent is altered. The RRC will inform the author in writing of the revised wording in a timely manner so that any potential conflicts will be resolved prior to publication deadlines. Should the member who submitted the proposed rule change deem that the intent has of the proposed rule has changed, and editing revisions cannot be resolved with the RRC, then the proposed rule change as written by the submitting member will be offered to the members for a vote.

F.12. Proposal Withdrawal

The author of a proposal may request for withdrawal of the proposal with the RRC.

F.13. Revisions to Rules Proposal Procedure

Revisions to the Rules Proposal procedures shall require approval by the NAR Board of Trustees.

The suggested text of any proposed revision(s) shall be submitted to the RRC for communication to NAR members at least two (2) months prior to a NAR Board Meeting so that the Board might consider relevant input from the NAR membership.