The House Communications Standards Commission has released updated Communication Standards for Members of Congress to take effect on January 7th, 2020. The new guidelines modernize franking rules by including digital communications, improve accountability through public transparency, expedite the Commission review process, and allow for more seamless interaction with constituents across platforms.
Effective January 7th, 2020, the following are new updates to Official House Communications Rules and Procedures:
- Name Change - The House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards (also known as the Franking Commission) has taken steps to change the name to the House Communications Standards Commission
- Rules - Regulations governing franked mail and other communications content have been consolidated and simplified (found here)
- Approval Procedures - Requirements for Advisory Opinions have been updated to streamline the approval process
- Transparency - All Advisory Opinions will be available online for public review on the Clerk of the House’s Public Disclosure website: https://masscommsdisclosure.house.gov/
Coronavirus Update: To address concerns about the Coronavirus, the CARES Act updated statutory provisions in Title 39, which provide the Commission authority to waive blackout restrictions so Members may use franked mail for communications related to threats to life safety. On March 30th, the Commission used this new authority to unanimously update the House Communication Standards Manual and waive blackout restriction for unsolicited mass postal mail sent in response to or addressing COVID-19.
Download the new Communication Standards Manual or view it below:
More information about the House Communications Standards Commission procedures is available here.