by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
In 2013, the General Assembly passed a powerful, empirically tested red-tape reduction measure: sunset provisions with periodic review. At the time, the total stock of state rules had been estimated at 22,500.
We’re now at the halfway mark of the process. Here are the numbers now according to an August 2017 update from the state Rules Review Commission:
So about one-eighth of state rules are being removed under the current process.
Here’s how a good process can be even better. Right now, rules under review fall in one of three categories:
Here is how those categories have sorted so far:
Section 3 of House Bill 162 would get rid of the “necessary without substantive public interest” category (i.e., the biggest one, shown in blue in the pie chart). That change would subject all “necessary” state rules to periodic review. (The “unnecessary” ones would still sunset immediately.)
The end result would be more scrutiny of agency rules over time. That’s important because the bulk of economic literature demonstrates regulation’s harmful effects on the economy. Doing more to remove red tape and clear out overregulation would have greater beneficial effects for economic growth.
It’s a common-sense reform advocated by, among others, the head of the Rules Review Commission.
HB 162 already passed both chambers earlier this year, and the Senate has approved the conference report. The House could consider it in the upcoming extra session starting Friday.
Read my report for more details.