BOISE – Gov. Brad Little announced Tuesday that he’s taking public comments on his plan to cut or simplify regulations in what he says are a third of all chapters in the state’s administrative rules book.
There are about 8,200 pages of administrative rules containing 736 chapters that touch on just about every aspect of life. They include such things as protecting consumers, homeowners, the environment and school children. They range from hunting and fishing licenses and seasons to licensing for health care professionals and construction contractors.
The Republican released what he proposes to retain and cut in the Idaho Administrative Code on the state’s Division of Financial Management website. Public comments are being taken through June 11.
Lawmakers fought over the administrative rules process and ultimately failed to renew them before adjourning in April. That means all rules expire at midnight on June 30.
Little now has sweeping authority to eliminate thousands of rules by not using his executive powers to create temporary ones.
“We didn’t ask for this but it was a golden opportunity,” Little said Tuesday. “I know a lot of very dedicated people all over the state have been doing a lot of work in a very constrained time period.”
Little has made clear his intent to cut regulations, issuing three executive orders this year all having to do with limiting or reducing government. They include requiring state agencies to cut two rules for every new one, making it easier to obtain occupational licenses, and forming a committee to find ways to cut inefficiencies in state government.
Little has previously said he’s not looking at the rule cutting as an opportunity to do mischief. And he could have let the rules expire without making the cuts available to the public ahead of the deadline. Instead, he chose a public process.
“It’s something he felt very strongly about,” said Alex Adams, administrator of the Division of Financial Management. “He campaigned on confidence in state government. Part of why we’re posting it for public comment is to make sure we didn’t miss anything. There really isn’t a script for how to handle this because this is the first time this has happened in state history.”
Adams was expected to discuss proposed rules changes at a news conference on Wednesday. Most of the rules being altered or eliminated have either become obsolete, been supplanted by statute or court orders, or been consolidated in some way, he said Tuesday.
“Our goal was to ensure that it was just simpler and easier for Idahoans,” Adams said.
There will be additional opportunities to comment. A special Idaho Administrative Bulletin will be published online on June 19. A 21-day public comment period follows before the rules can attain temporary status and remain in effect.
In addition, some agencies are also planning to hold public hearings beyond the 21 days.
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