The Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law has released a 459-page report entitled 52 Experiments with Regulatory Review: The Political and Economic Inputs into State Rulemakings. The report, authored by Jason A Schwartz, recognizes the impact of government regulation on the economy and argues that “systems of economic analysis and regulatory review are needed so that the costs and benefits of action are properly weighted.”
In describing the report, the web site at the Institute for Policy Integrity says,
Nearly twenty percent of the American economy is regulated by state governments. But there are major concerns about how regulatory decisions are made. Although states routinely regulate industries whose economic footprints climb into the hundreds of millions of dollars, these rules are often made ad hoc, risking inefficient results that limit public benefit.
After more than a year of research, surveys, and analysis, Policy Integrity is the first to compile the regulatory practices of all fifty states (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) in one document. Comparing each set of laws and guidelines on paper to direct feedback from leaders on the ground, the report assigns states a grade based on an evaluation of the quality of their review process. The results of “52 Experiments with Regulatory Review,” which finds significant flaws with state level regulatory review, indicate that billions of dollars and important environmental and public health protections are at risk. States earned an average grade of “D+” with the lowest possible grade being a “D-.”
The full report is available from the Institute for Policy Integrity at http://policyintegrity.org/publications/detail/52-experiments-with-regulatory-review/.
Senator Howard Stephenson, co-chair of Utah’s legislative Administrative Rules Review Committee, is sponsoring a bill to enlarge the role of the committee in new ways. S.B. 64, entitled “Administrative Rules Review Committee,” expands the authority of the committee to include the review of “any appropriation made by the Legislature … to ensure that the entity to which the funds were appropriated complies with any expressed legislative intent concerning the appropriation.” Under the provisions of the bill, the Committee reports its findings of noncompliance to the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee. The bill does not authorize any other direct action by the Administrative Rules Review Committee.
Utah created its Administrative Rules Review Committee in 1983. The ten-member legislative committee currently has authority to review proposed and effective administrative rules and to prepare omnibus legislation to reauthorize administrative rules every year (see H.B. 197 for this year’s reauthorization bill). More information about Utah’s Administrative Rules Review Committee is available at http://www.rules.utah.gov/arrc.htm.
UPDATE – 3/12/2009 — S.B. 64 encountered opposition in the House due to concerns that the additional authority to review appropriations (expenditures) would diminish the Administrative Rules Review Committee’s focus on administrative rules. Rep. Ben Ferry, House Chair of the Administrative Rules Review Committee, sponsored H.J.R. 23, amending joint legislative rules, giving the authority to review appropriations directly to the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee.
The Virginia House of Delegates passed a constitutional amendment (first resolution) that provides that the General Assembly may suspend or nullify any or all portions of any administrative rule or regulation by joint resolution agreed to by a majority of the members elected to each house. View the progress of House Joint Resolution 731.
Jurist’s Paper Chase reports that a “Senate Appropriations Committee approved a provision Wednesday that effectively blocks President Bush’s proposed overtime rules.”
The Paper Chase reports that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to “block overtime rules.” I looked at this with interest because it sounded as though Congress might be using the Congressional Review Act again. However, the article is not clear about the method the House is using. The AP article makes it sound like this is an appropriations bill, not a resolution. See the Paper Chase article and the Washington Post article (free registration required to view articles) for more information.
Other sources have indicated that this action is an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services , and Educations Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5006 — specifically, see House amendment 734 entitled, “An amendment to prohibit the use of funds to enforce a Labor Department final rule which went into effect on August 23, 2004 regarding overtime protection….) . As one savy observer noted, a rider attached to an appropriations bill is much more difficult to defeat than a single-issue CRA resolultion of disapproval.