The REINS bill is similar to legislation moving through congress, but with lower thresholds. It provides greater legislative oversight of the regulations adopted by state agencies. Any rule or regulation with an economic impact of more than $10 million would require legislative approval.
And it gives the legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules more muscle. The committee would be empowered to request a public hearing earlier in the rule-making process and call for an independent review of the proposed regulation’s economic impact.
“Right now, regular citizens and businesses don’t have a proper voice in the rule-making process,” LeMahieu said. “This bill adds additional oversight by allowing the legislature to require a preliminary public hearing earlier in the rule-making process and request independent Economic Impact Analyses on agency cost estimates.”
The REINS Act, co-authored by Sen. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, passed the Assembly last session. It is expected to do so this session. Gov. Scott Walker included the reform in his budget, but REINS was one of 83 “non-fiscal” policy items stripped from the Joint Finance Committee’s starting budget document.
If nothing else, it forces state officials to actually think about and measure the impact of their decisions before rendering them. It is easy to sit in Madison and pass regulations when you don’t have to be accountable for the impact.