MORE regulatory reform!

Since our last newsletter, the Senate has introduced several bills intended to advance their “regulatory reform” agenda.

S.B. 535 is another of those “no more stringent than Federal requirements” bills; this one pertains specifically to water.  It specifies that “no legislative rule or program of the (DEP) secretary heretofore or hereafter adopted may be any more stringent than necessary to satisfy any federal requirement or any federal rule or program . . .”  Further, the Secretary is to “review all standards of quality with respect to surface waters and use designations . . . and report to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee on or before December 1, 2016, and after that on or before December 1 of every odd numbered year,” identifying “all standards, use designations” etc. “that are more stringent than necessary to satisfy any requirements of the federal Water Pollution Control Act or any federal rule or program . . .”  The bill has been referred to the Energy, Industry and Mining (EIM) Committee and also to Judiciary.

You can look forward to dirtier air if S.B. 536 passes; it increases permit thresholds and speeds up the permitting process.  Perhaps senators should read this Washington Post piece called The staggering economic cost of air pollution. The bill been referred to the EIM and Judiciary committees.  It has a fiscal note, which is a good thing.

S.B. 541 requires state agencies “to analyze the impact of proposed and existing regulations on small businesses, with the intent of reducing negative impact of regulations on the state’s small businesses, where suitable.” It too has a fiscal  note and has been referred to the committee on Government Organization.

S.B. 543 makes a number of additions to the requirements for what must accompany proposed rules when they are submitted to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee, including “an economic impact statement that addresses the probable effect of the proposed rule on the economy of the State of West Virginia including, but not limited to, the effect of the regulation on employment, job creation or reduction and compensation.”  It has been referred to the Government Organization Committee.

S.B. 544 is yet another “no more stringent than federal rule” bill.  This one applies to executive branch agencies.

The stated purpose of S.B. 550 is “to lessen the regulatory burdens on small businesses.” It creates a Small Business Regulatory Review Board, establishes its powers as well as obligations of state agencies, and more.

Then there’s H.B. 2269, a holdover from last year, which you can read about here; and H.B. 4002, which establishes a five-year “sunset” period on rules promulgated after April 1, 2016.

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