Lankford Subcommittee Examines Regulatory Solutions From State Legislatures

WASHINGTON, DC – The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, under the chairmanship of Senator James Lankford (R-OK), today held a hearing to examine state-level solutions to improve the regulatory process, increase transparency, and issue cost-effective rules, and whether these ideas could be implemented at the federal level. State elected leaders from Idaho, North Dakota, and Connecticut testified at the hearing.

“For decades, Congress has fallen into the habit of passing legislation that is vague on details so the agencies can make the difficult decisions through regulation,” said Lankford. “Politically, this insulates us, but practically, this is not the best process for the American people. Members of Congress can say we did our part and passed a bill to solve a problem; it is the agency who messed up implementation. That is not how our government is supposed to work.

“Today’s hearing showed that many states, like Connecticut and North Dakota, are actively reviewing state regulations to ensure they follow legislative intent. Other states, like Idaho, must codify state regulations after a year or they expire. These state legislatures are taking responsibility not only for the bills they pass but also for the regulations that are a direct result of those laws. These states prove that an active legislature that works closely with agencies can be successful without needlessly slowing down the regulatory process. Congress must get serious about regulatory reform and consider these types of improvements.”

Notable Comments from Witnesses:

The Honorable Scott Bedke, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Idaho said, “We believe that allowing executive branch agencies the unreviewed authority to promulgate and implement administrative rules compromises the Legislature’s authority to make law and, consequently, strengthens the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch.” 

The Honorable Arthur O’Neill, Member of the House of Representatives in Connecticut said, “[The Committee] is an effective mechanism to protect legislative intent from executive branch dilution or distortion. It provides an opportunity for individuals interested in or affected by a regulation to influence the process without the time and expense of litigation.”

CLICK HERE to view the full hearing video and opening statements.