N.C. House Bill 162, on which we reported back in August, may have a rough road to passage during next week’s special session of the General Assembly.
In Thursday’s meeting of the Select Committee on Administrative Procedure Laws, a number of House Republicans made it clear they’re nowhere near as enthusiastic about changes to the final bill as their colleagues in the Senate.
Broadly, the bill would curb the ability of state agencies to make rules and would get the General Assembly much more intimately involved in all sorts of regulation, seeing them take on responsibilities usually delegated to agencies that report to the Council of State.
Specifically – and of concern to a number of House lawmakers – it would prevent agencies from enacting any permanent rule that have a financial impact of $100 million or more, regardless of its financial benefits.
Rep. Sarah Stevens, vice-chair of the committee, said that could impact a lot of agencies and services people depend on every day.
“Who will make the rules to implement the over $100 million things?” Stevens asked. “Are we going to have to do that as a General Assembly on a daily basis?”
Stevens said that had the potential to bring things to a “grinding halt” as the Assembly struggled with the minutiae of rules and policies and could end up impacting programs like 911, Read to Achieve and immunizations.
Sen. Paul Newton, on hand at Thursday’s committee to defend Senate changes to the original bill and push for a House vote next week, had a simple response to that.
“I think there are a lot of mothers and fathers who would like us to take a look at immunizations,” Newton said, eliciting some muted snickers from the public gathered in the room.
Newton told the committee he believes that agencies in the state have too much power and are enforcing too many regulations that are burdensome to people and businesses.
“We believe that elected representatives should shoulder the burden and give an up or down vote on regulations,” Newton said.
Getting lawmakers more intimately involved in the making of regulations and how they’re implemented would cut down on the number of unnecessary regulations and could be handled through “common sense” discussions, Newton said.
More than a few of the assembled committee’s members – Republican and Democrat – seemed skeptical of that. Read more