ACTION: Better get on the horn to your legislators and tell them to come to their senses and reject HB 147, SB 113, and SB 120.
Sometimes I think Green Delaware has done its work and we should fade away, having done more than our share for a long time. And then, something like this comes along — bills that make me wonder how things can get this bad without objection.
The obvious intent is to create opportunities for wholesale rollbacks of environmental regulations, as well as other categories of protective regulations, and to prevent new regs from being enacted. The idea is not new, it’s a perpetual theme of Chambers of Commerce, ALEC, etc. Tom Carper set up regulatory reviews immediately upon becoming Governor in 1993. Green Delaware was pretty much alone in objecting. There have been other episodes since.
We previously wrote about the beginning of the present scam in some depth (Feb 8, 2013):
Of course, it is possible for regulations to become obsolete, burdensome, or unnecessary. But it is so difficult to enact needed regulations that regulatory excess is hard to find, while regulatory inadequacy is everywhere. Budgets have been slashed to make it impossible for an agency to do its job… ripoff charges by banks, “bomb trains” threats, stinking compost yards, the vast majority of Delaware’s waters pollutted … name your favorite.
Gov. Markell, in my opinion, is little more than a flack for big-business interests. He never speaks of improved regulation in the public interest or increased enforcement of what regulations we do have. He only speaks of less regulation, never of more. More rollovers to big-business are invariably couched in terms of helping “small business,” which in fact gets little or no help. And the people are harmed. Markell hasn’t offered any evidence that there is excessive regulation, or that excessive regulation harms Delaware economically.
See this June 11th gloat from Markell’s office:
Governor’s Statement on Unanimous Passage of 3 Regulatory Reform Bills Related to State of the State Proposals
SB 113 & SB 120 move to House; HB 147 moves to Senate for consideration
Dover, DE — Responding to proposals Governor Markell made in this year’s State of the State address, the House of Representatives today unanimously passed House Bill 147 to establish regular reviews of state regulations, while the Delaware Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 113 and Senate Bill 120 to require that state agencies announce any additional burden that a new regulation would place on small businesses. In response, the Governor issued the following statement:
“Although regulations are sometimes necessary, we must strive to ensure that they do not impose unnecessary burdens upon our citizens and businesses,” said Governor Markell. “All three bills build upon my Administration’s previous efforts to reduce the burden of regulations on Delawareans, as well as the efforts of legislators on both sides of the aisle. There is no monopoly on good ideas, and I am grateful that Democrats and Republicans are working together to support entrepreneurs and small businesses by eliminating the red tape that inhibits growth.”
HB 147 now moves to the Senate for consideration, while SB 113 and SB 120 move to the House.
House Bill 147 — sponsored by Rep. Bryon Short, Rep. Danny Short, Sen. Brian Bushweller, and Sen. Greg Lavelle — would require each executive branch agency to conduct an in-depth examination of the regulations on its books every four years, and to solicit public input in doing so. The bill would codify the Governor’s Executive Order No. 36, which in 2013 resulted in the elimination or modification of more than 100 agency regulations.
Senate Bill 113 — sponsored by Sen. Gerald Hocker, Sen. Bobby Marshall, Rep. Bryon Short, Rep. Quinn Johnson, and others — is one of two bills that comprise the Regulatory Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015 (“RTAA”). SB 113 would require each agency to submit a “regulatory impact statement” whenever it proposes regulations that would place additional burdens upon small businesses. Among other things, each statement must include an estimate of the costs of complying with the regulation. In addition, SB 113 requires the Registrar of Regulations to submit regulatory impact statements to the appropriate committee of the General Assembly.
Senate Bill 120 — sponsored by Sen. Bobby Marshall, Sen. Gerald Hocker, Rep. Q. Johnson, Rep. B. Short, and others — is the second bill that is part of the RTAA. Under SB 120, whenever an agency proposes a regulation that would place additional burdens upon small businesses, it must submit a “regulatory flexibility analysis.” In a regulatory flexibility analysis, each agency generally must consider ways to reduce the regulation’s burden on individuals and small business. That includes considering less stringent requirements or deadlines for individuals or small businesses that must comply with the proposed regulation. In addition, SB 120 provides that if an agency does not submit the required information to the Registrar, a proposed regulation may not be published in the Register of Regulations.
Note a few things: These are Republican/big business/Koch Machine “dream” bills, and most of the sponsors are Republicans, but supposedly both the Delaware House and Senate are controlled by Democrats. And yet these horrible bills passed unanimously. Even Rep. John Kowalko, who of all people should know better, not only voted for HB 147, but is listed as a sponsor.
We queried representatives of Delaware Sierra and Delaware Audubon about this but got no responses.