You may not realize it, but state regulations govern the way we live. There are tens of thousands of regulations in the Wisconsin Administrative Code. There are regulations for the way pillowcases are packaged (ATCP 90.08, 10b) and regulations that set the size of the holes in Baby Swiss cheese (ATCP 81.91, subchapter IX). State regulations also deal with what you buy, where you buy it and how the product got to the store in the first place. In fact, there are 1,768 chapters of the administrative code. That’s approximately 11,764 pages of regulations. Often time these regulations are never looked at again once they’re put on the books. If you opened the Administrative Code Volume 14, Chapter 1, you’ll find an entire section on microfilm.
Who created these regulations? These regulations are put in place by agency officials or bureaucrats in order to provide specific instructions on how a law should be carried out. These rules have a major impact on our daily lives, our homes and businesses. Frequently, these regulations drive up the cost of doing business, and that cost gets passed on to you.
This week, Wisconsin Assembly Republicans will officially begin a comprehensive review of the state’s administrative code. This is believed to be the first such regulatory review in Wisconsin’s history. The goal is to eliminate regulations that restrict job growth and aren’t essential to public or environmental protection. It won’t be an easy task, but it’ll be worth it if the private sector gains additional opportunities to create jobs.
You play an important role in this process. We’re asking for your help in determining what regulations need to be closely examined. Assembly Republicans have launched a website, righttherules.legis.wisconsin.gov, that allows you to track the regulatory review process and give you a means to share your opinions on specific rules and regulations. Assembly lawmakers will review these regulations in their respective committees and will hold public hearings on the rules that need further evaluation. There are two ways lawmakers could change a rule: There could be new legislation introduced or the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules could modify the rule.
The review process may span the entire session. I think it will be time well spent. There are other states that mandate an administrative review every five or ten years. For Wisconsin’s first regulatory review process, we want to have a good debate and hear from you and our Democratic counterparts. I believe this process will be another example of bipartisanship during the 2013-2014 legislative session.
We need less government, not more, fewer rules and more freedom. That’s why we’re calling our efforts: “Right the rules: changing one rule at a time.” We want what’s right for Wisconsin and, hopefully, we’ll get government out of the way so the private sector can find more ways to create jobs.
If you have any comments or questions concerning regulatory reform or any state issue, please contact my office at (608) 266-9171 or email me at Rep.Vos@legis.wi.gov. If you would like weekly legislative updates sent to your email inbox, sign up for my e-update on my website at repvos.com.
State Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is the speaker of the Assembly.