Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke says his new bill aimed at setting up periodic reviews of administrative rules would help lawmakers avoid the “logistical nightmare” of conducting those reviews all at once.
Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said Republicans have learned that trying to “review all 1,100 pages of administrative rules at one time is practically impossible.”
Assembly Republicans are now on their third session of the Red Tape Review initiative, which Steineke’s office says would continue if the bill passes. At the start of the session, the chamber had reviewed 27 percent of the state’s administrative code.
“We wanted to make sure we never had to go through this exhaustive process again by making sure that we’re doing it on a consistent basis every year,” he said.
Steineke’s bill, which he co-authored with Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, would have lawmakers review individual chapters of the Wisconsin Administrative Code every seven years — and let rules that aren’t re-adopted expire.
The two wrote in a co-sponsorship memo to lawmakers that more consistent reviews are needed, because as time goes on, regulations “become outdated and harmful to both individual freedom and economic productivity.”
Agencies that want to re-adopt rules would send a notice to JCRAR and the relevant standing committee a year before the chapter is set to expire. If no member of those committees object to that notice, the rule is then re-adopted.
If there is an objection, the agency would have to go through the standard rule-making process. If that happens, the agency would have to prepare an economic impact statement and compare it to past projections, Steineke said, giving lawmakers a chance to see whether “what we said was going to happen” actually did.
“This makes sure that the decisions that we make now, we’re held to account for,” he said.
The bill is getting praise from business groups, with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce calling it “one of the most significant regulatory reforms in a generation.”
“This legislation would build on the great work that has been done over the past six years to improve Wisconsin’s regulatory climate and push back on the ever-growing regulatory state,” said WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer.
Other groups supporting the bill include the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and the conservative Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin.
But Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, pointed to those groups’ support and said it’s “no secret who’s behind this Republican bill.”
“This proposal is another special interest giveaway that would jeopardize our clean water protections, weaken financial safeguards and undermine workplace fairness rules,” she said.