State News

Perdue calls for halt to government rule-making

Posted October 21, 2010 6:21 a.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2010 6:50 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue issued an executive order Thursday to curb excessive rule-making by state government agencies.

The order directs cabinet secretaries and requests statewide elected officials to stop creating administrative rules unless absolutely necessary. It also requires any new rules proposed by a cabinet agency to be reviewed by the Office of State Budget and Management.

Perdue also established a website to gather input from state residents, businesses, community groups and local governments about which rules and regulations need to be reviewed, eliminated or consolidated.

"Most, if not all, of our current rules, I believe, have never been evaluated to determine if their working or actually what their costs are," Perdue said during a news conference at Perry Harrison Elementary School in Pittsboro.

"This is a chance to have your voice heard and to help us bring some North Carolina common sense to government," she said.

The governor pointed to the school's playground as an example of a rule that didn't make sense. A regulation that governed childcare facility playgrounds didn't apply to public schools, so children enrolled in after-school programs that operate in a school weren't allowed to play on the school’s playground.

State officials changed the rule last year.

"It has definitely been advantageous for us to have that playground exemption on our license," said Jennifer Wimberly of the Chatham YMCA, which operates an after-school program at Perry Harrison Elementary.

Although each idea submitted by the public will be reviewed, not all will be tweaked or eliminated.

Berry Jenkins, director of the North Carolina Highway Division at Carolinas AGC, an association of general contractors, said he has some concerns over Perdue's plan to change another rule. He said the amount of money contractors put aside as a bond should something go wrong on a project needs to be maintained in some cases.

"I think, where it's appropriate to protect the public interest, obviously, we need to keep the requirements fairly stringent," Jenkins said.

Perdue also is working on plans to consolidate state agencies and sell government assets to save money. The state faces a projected $3 billion budget shortfall in the coming year.

She has said she won't provide specifics about her overhaul plans until after the Nov. 2 election, when control of the General Assembly is up for grabs.

With the overhaul, Perdue has said that the state's focus will remain on providing core services, including education, economic development and public safety.