Assembly Holds Hearing on Bill Putting Expiration Dates on Rules

With respect to regulatory reform, the governor’s small business agenda includes legislation that would sunset all regulations every seven years. He was referencing AB 384/SB 295, authored by Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna).

On Sept. 19, the Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform held a hearing on AB 384. Among other business groups supporting the legislation, WMC’s testimony noted that “once a regulation is promulgated it stays in the books indefinitely.” The bill creates an expedited process for rule promulgation and legislative review, for existing and new regulations.

The bill requires that the legislature set a seven-year schedule to review every existing regulatory code chapter. Only if the legislature requests “re-adoption” would the existing rule be required to be promulgated again or face expiration. Such a review presents a daunting challenge for the legislature and agencies. For example, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) alone has 385 individual code chapters, consisting of over 4,500 pages. There are 76 departments, commissions, and boards in Wisconsin with regulations contained in Wisconsin’s Administrative Code.