by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Overregulation creates undue burdens on the entire economy. That said, North Carolina has been making steady progress in recent years to reduce unnecessary regulations. This session the Senate is considering SB 553, titled the Regulatory Reform Act of 2019. This bill would make various changes to the existing law is multiple areas. According to JLF’s Jon Sanders,
Among other things, it would make a slight adjustment in the codes governing drinking fountain and water closet requirements, repeal the landfill ban for discarded computer equipment and TVs, add aquaculture uses to the list of allowable uses of a flood hazard area without a permit, and clarify the process for determining the suitability of a site for septic tank placement. It would also raise the current limit on public employees benefiting from public contracts from $40,000 to $60,000.
While these reforms are a step in the right direction, much more can be done to address over regulation in North Carolina. A few of the reforms Sanders suggests are:
1. Periodic review tweak. Have all rules either sunset or be reviewed every ten years. Eliminate the “third bucket” in which rules get re-upped without review.
2. Rules throttle/legislative rules ratification. If an agency proposes a rule that would exceed a certain cost threshold, the rule could not take effect unless it received an affirming vote in the General Assembly. Rules have the same practical force as laws, but they are made by bureaucrats who aren’t accountable to the voters. Legislators are the lawmaking branch of government, and having a final say over deeply impactful rules would serve the principle of good government.
3. Occupational licensing consumer choice. See above for a state precedent. It would allow a service professional in a field licensed in North Carolina to retain their right to earn a living even without an occupational license by providing consumers with a non-license disclosure prior to agreeing to do work. Consumers could then knowingly choose someone whose professional credentials in a state-licensed profession would include many other things, including another state’s license, but not a state license.
Learn more about the bill and more reform recommendations here.