Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Senate Committee OKs Bill Requiring Legislative Vote On Regs Costing $1 Million+

The Senate Rules Committee Monday voted to approve and report out Senate Bill 561 (Disanto-R-Dauphin) which requires an up or down vote by the General Assembly on every final regulation approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission if that regulation has a fiscal impact of $1 million or more.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said the bill hands too much power to the legislative majority and violates the separation of powers doctrine.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said the bill is one of a series that tries to inject the legislature into the process of how public money is spent in Harrisburg.
The bill’s prime sponsor-- Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin)-- justified the bill, however, by pointing to the cost impact regulations have on the business community.
Under the legislation, the estimate of the cost of a regulation must be verified by the Independent Fiscal Office.  There is no requirement the benefits of the regulation be calculated or compared to the cost.
The Senate and House have 30 calendar days or 10 legislative days to vote on a concurrent resolution submitted by an agency approving a final regulation.  If no action is taken, the final regulation would be deemed disapproved and cannot take effect.
Consider these points--
-- Do Nothing And Kill A Regulation: By doing absolutely nothing, the Senate and House could kill a regulation.  There is no requirement for an affirmative vote to enact something like a law or other resolutions and put their votes on the line to overturn a regulation a state or federal law required agencies to do.  Because there is no affirmative action, the Governor has no opportunity to review the action like there is in every other instances where resolutions are used. This process would be unique.
-- No Measure Of Benefits: There is no requirement to compare the costs to benefits as there is on the regulatory analysis form that comes with each regulation.  This only looks at one side of the equation and is blind to things like health and safety benefits and mandates of state and federal law.
-- Unfunded Mandate: There is no funding for the Independent Fiscal Office to implement this regulation.  In 2016, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission took action on 43 final regulations from all agencies, nearly one a week through the entire year.  That workload needs to be paid for.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for action.
Bill Requiring General Assembly Approval Of Regulations Prompts Separation Of Powers Disagreement

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