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Rule elimination bill gets first look

Posted February 13, 2013

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— North Carolina would prune the complex web of regulations that agencies turn state and federal laws into administration action under a bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, and Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg.

"For every rule, there's someone who has to live with it," Murry told the newly formed House Regulatory Reform Committee Wednesday morning.

"This is a broad, sweeping bill," Murry said, explaining that House Bill 74 is only a first draft and that it would likely change as the session went on. However, he said, the state needs to begin reviewing the nearly 23,000 administrative rules on the books to figure out which ones are necessary and which ones merely pose problems for business. 

"Many of them (the rules) haven't had proper sunsetting or sunshine in many years," Murry said. 

When the General Assembly passes a law, it often doesn't set specific requirements for how that law is carried out. For example, the legislature requires restaurant sanitation inspections and licensing for child care centers. However, the exact standards for what constitutes a clean restaurant or a high-quality day care were set by rules drafted by agencies.

As currently drafted, Murry's bill would require all rules to be reviewed over the next four years. It would then set up a periodic review every 10 years. 

Samuelson said the bill could change so that, instead of having to review all rules, agencies could focus in on rules that were causing problems.

"We need to find a way to implement this in a way that targets the ones we most need to target," she said. 

The bill was well-received by committee Republicans, like Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, who had served on a committee that toured the state gathering input about regulations. 

"So many times we hear, 'I don't mind a rule, but this one, there's no reason for it, but I have to obey it because it's there,'" Avila said. 

Others were concerned that the bill might be too broad a rule and wipe away needed regulations.

"I'm concerned about these delegated programs where we're under a federal mandate," said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Greensboro. The state could end up wiping away rules required by the federal government.

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  • Chemist18 Feb 13, 2:20 p.m.

    When the General Assembly passes a law, it often doesn't set specific requirements for how that law is carried out. For example, the legislature requires restaurant sanitation inspections and licensing for child care centers. However, the exact standards for what constitutes a clean restaurant or a high-quality day care were set by rules drafted by agencies.

    I'm not sure I understand... Since the law doesn't specify the "rules"... what? Repeal the law? Close the agencies? Why did they choose these as the poster children for the axe?