Government

Snyder hears ways to streamline regulatory rule-making

March 21, 2014
| By Pete Daly |
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The Office of Regulatory Reinvention within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA, has passed on to Gov. Rick Snyder 18 recommendations improving state regulatory rulemaking processes, while maintaining transparency.

LARA said the ORR report is the result of a thorough review of the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, relevant case law, and a discussion of how the rulemaking process has evolved, or not evolved, in recent years.

ORR is part of Snyder’s effort to make state government more efficient by eliminating burdensome rules on business and modernizing regulatory systems, while ensuring health, safety and consumer protections remain. 

To date, the office has rescinded more than 1,500 rules it calls “burdensome and duplicative” and fully implemented 120.

“Utilizing technology, making information more accessible, and engaging the general public and interested stakeholders will result in more effective rules for all Michiganders,” said Steve Arwood, chief regulatory officer and LARA director. “These changes will encourage business growth and job creation by enhancing the efficiency and predictability of the process.”

The ORR developed the recommendations after a comprehensive review process by an Advisory Rules Committee made up of 12 stakeholders, including representatives from trade associations and the regulated community, attorneys experienced in the practice of administrative and regulatory law, and senior staff from several state departments. 

Andy Such, director of environmental and regulatory policy at the Michigan Manufacturers Association, is a member of the Advisory Rules Committee.

The Administrative Procedures Act leaves it to each state government department to promulgate rules for implementing every new law, but Such said the Act is not clear on how the departments should include stakeholders in their rule-making process.

“It shouldn’t be a mystery about how rules are promulgated because once they’re adopted — once they’re approved — they become part of the law, just as if the Legislature wrote it,” said Such.

Such said the expected impact of every regulation must be included with the rules, and there are often dozens of “repetitive” issues included in the impact statement.

“I think the APA ought to reflect what accountability (the stakeholders) can have and make sure we have it,” said Such.

Such said he works most often with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on manufacturing regulations, but he also noted he has no complaints about the departments he works with as a representative of the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

“Key to the development of a healthy administrative rules process is one that contains transparency and meaningful participation from the regulated community and the public. This report reflects several opportunities to expand where the public and job providers can participate in the rulemaking process,” said ARC member Jason Geer, director of energy and environmental policy at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

The ORR's rulemaking recommendations generally fall into one of four categories:

— Streamlining; an example being Recommendation No. 2: Identify and encourage best practices in rulemaking.

— Transparency; an example being Recommendation No. 3: Limit the practice of incorporating a pool of standards that may be considered for incorporation.

— Access; an example being Recommendation No. 9: Use technology to increase public access to the rulemaking process.

— Updating and Clarification; an example being Recommendation No. 14: Clarify the status of implied rulemaking authority.

All of the recommendations can be seen on the Michigan.gov/lara website under Office of Regulatory Reinvention, “Latest News.”

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