The conference report for House Bill 162 contains an intriguing regulatory reform called a “rules throttle.” My research update this week looks at a rules throttle that has been in place and working in Florida since 2010.

How is the Florida rules throttle working? A Florida Bar Journal review of it in 2015, “Legislative Rule Ratification: Lessons from the First Four Years,” is quite positive. The review found:

  • the legislature has taken up agencies’ ratification requests “with due deliberation”
  • “legislative rules ratification has become routine”
  • “Few rules … have required legislative ratification”
  • the legislature “has moved with dispatch either to ratify the rule submitted or determine not to proceed”

Another strong positive rings forth in this review. The Florida rules throttle increased communication between administrative agencies and legislature. They worked together to create a model bill template for ratifying a specific rule (or set of rules), they opened preliminary discussions of rules that would likely need ratification (including possible controversies surrounding them), and they stayed in communication during the introduction and consideration of ratification bills.

So what’s interesting is not only that the Florida rules throttle is working, it’s how it is working. It is bringing about a collaborative relationship between agencies and the legislature.

This outcome addresses the core of the issue. Agency rules are supposed to implement laws passed by the legislature. Better communication between agencies and the legislature means greater likelihood the agencies produce rules consistent with the legislature’s intent behind the law.

That’s the outcome sought by HB 162’s rules throttle as well as other regulatory reform efforts that would have the legislative body vote on executive agency rules, such as REINS and the Congressional Review Act.