CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Leaders of the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee today reminded state agencies of a Nov. 1 deadline to submit reports evaluating whether state-level regulations are more stringent or burdensome than similar regulations established at the federal level.
Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, and Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, also reminded the public of the opportunity to comment on these rules.
The reports were required as part of the Legislature’s Regulatory Reform Act of 2016.
For many years, West Virginia’s regulatory environment has been seen as a hindrance to economic growth. Mercatus Center at George Mason University at one point said, “West Virginia suffers from an abundance of regulation,” consistently ranking the state in the bottom 10 of its index of personal and economic freedom.
Since taking the majority in the Legislature in 2015, Republican leaders have made regulatory reform a priority to foster economic growth.
In 2015, the Legislature passed House Bill 2233, which requires that legislative rules be reviewed five years after initial approval by the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee and the Legislative Auditor's Office. In 2016, Senate Bill 619 – the Regulatory Reform Act – furthered those efforts by establishing sunset provisions for all future rules crafted by most state agencies.
Senate Bill 619 also required each agency to review and evaluate all state-level rules, guidelines, policies and recommendations under their jurisdiction and compare them to similar regulations, guidelines and policies implemented at the federal level. The bill requires each agency to submit a report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance and the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee on or before Nov. 1, 2017.
Sen. Maynard and Delegate Sobonya said the Regulatory Reform Act of 2016 is key to ensuring the state’s regulatory environment is not overly burdensome nor making the state less competitive for job creation.
“This bill was part of the Legislature’s regulatory reform package, and I think we are accomplishing our goal of comprehensive regulatory reform in our state,” Sen. Maynard said. “Overall, the Legislature has repealed 166 rules, or about 12 percent of the total active rules on the State Register for which the Legislature has oversight.”
Senate Bill 619 also required state agencies with active rules, guidelines and polices that have similar federal counterparts to provide a public comment period on these regulations.
“We are representatives of the people. It is very important that the public has an opportunity to comment on the rules that affect them,” Delegate Sobonya said. “This report will help the Legislature identify burdensome and unnecessary rules that increase costs to business owners and create barriers to employment.”
The general public will have a chance to comment on certain rules put forward by the executive branch. Anyone who is interested in a particular rule, guideline or policy should check the agency’s webpage to comment.
At the end of the public comment period, each agency subject to this report will file a summary as to whether their state rules, guidelines and or policies are more stringent than their federal counterparts, and all comments received from the public comment period. These reports will be made available to the public on the Legislature’s website.