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Section 5. Seeking Enforcement of Existing Laws or Policies

What do we mean by enforcement?

___You understand the difference between strict enforcement and other possibilities, and have determined whether you seek strict enforcement or:

  • Enforcement of the spirit of the law
  • Enforcement that deals with the underlying problem
  • Enforcement that works to the benefit of the largest number of people.

Who is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations?

___You know how to find the agency or organization responsible for enforcement at the federal, state,local, and professional levels.

When might be the best times to seek enforcement of existing laws and regulations ?

___You seek enforcement, if appropriate, whenever individuals or the community are being harmed by the breaking of laws or regulations.

___You seek enforcement when violators refuse to respond to pleas to stop their violations.

___You seek enforcement when new information or situations highlight violations.

___You seek enforcement when the public is fed up with lack of enforcement.

Why might laws and regulations not be enforced?

You understand possible reasons for lack of enforcement:

___Violations are undiscovered.

___Enforcers lack the resources to track down or control violators.

___Enforcers choose to use limited resources only in the most serious cases.

___Enforcement might be economically or politically risky to the enforcers or the community.

___Violators and enforcers might be in collusion.

___Enforcers don't care.

___Violators don't care - penalties are less of a problem than stopping the violation.

How do you seek enforcement of existing laws and regulations?

___You educate yourself to the laws or regulations.

___You study the necessary background information well enough to discuss and explain the situation intelligently.

___You learn the context and history of the issue.

___You learn about the structure and operation of both the violator and the regulatory agency or association.

___You identify and establish relationships with the people at both the violating and regulatory organizations with whom you can work most effectively to gain enforcement.

___You decide, in the course of taking the following steps, if and when to alert the media and make the issue as public as possible.

___You take each of the following steps if the one before it fails to achieve results:

  • Convince the violator to voluntarily cease the violation.
  • Report the violation to the regulatory agency.
  • File a formal complaint.
  • Take your complaint to the next level.
  • Apply political pressure.
  • Take direct action.
  • Initiate legal action.

How do you maintain enforcement of existing laws and regulations?

___You negotiate inspection or oversight rights for your group or some other mutually agreed upon neutral body.

___You negotiate the availability of the results of inspection or oversight to the public.

___You negotiate timelines for accomplishment of specific benchmarks.

___You negotiate appropriate penalties, spelled out and made public, for violations.

___You remain vigilant and active in overseeing enforcement forever.