CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The chief of staff for Governor Jim Justice admits state agency officials are dealing with a “big endeavor” when it comes to meeting a Nov. 1 deadline set by executive order for mandated full reviews of all existing state rules and regulations.
“This is going to be a massive undertaking,” Mike Hall said.
Earlier this month, Justice signed two executive orders putting moratoriums on the implementation of new administrative state rules, while moving up an established 2020 date for complete agency regulatory assessments already required in state law.
“This is a statement on the part of the Governor that business is not going to be ‘as usual’ here,” Hall said. “This sends a signal to the outside world and everyone else that we’re putting the brakes on regulations.”
“Outmoded, ineffective, excessively burdensome and unnecessary rules….have created a heavy regulatory burden on West Virginians,” according to one of the orders.
Too many rules, Hall argued, can stop development or deter investors from even considering West Virginia for business locations.
He said many view the Mountain State as one of the most over-regulated states in the entire U.S.
The goal of the moratorium and review, Hall said, was to find the problems in the thousands of existing rules, including unnecessary regulations that serve as obstacles only, and address them.
Under the orders, regulatory review reports for Justice and the Legislative Rule Making Review Committee must detail every existing agency rule and determine whether those rules should continue, be modified or be repealed.
“We just don’t want to wait around,” Hall told MetroNews of the expedited review scheduling — two years shorter than previously established.
“Our economic development people are constantly dealing with people trying to bring new businesses here and one of the things you run into is just a lot of need to get over certain types of things that common sense will tell you are absolutely unnecessary.”
As for the new regulation moratorium, there are many possible exemptions for cases that include certain legislative, interpretive and emergency rules along with the following types of rules:
– Amending state rules to be no more stringent than federal rules;
– Implementing a federal mandate and no waiver is permitted;
– Updating state rules to comply with federal law requirements;
– Necessary to avoid violation of a court order;
– New rules promulgated as a result of legislation enacted after the effective date of this Regulatory Moratorium Executive Order;
– Matters pertaining to the control, mitigation or eradication of waste, fraud or abuse within a state agency;
– Job creation;
– Increasing investment in West Virginia;
– Improving the quality of West Virginia’s workforce;
– Repealing existing rules;
– Reducing the regulatory impact of existing rules;
– Reducing state spending;
– Rules deemed necessary by the Governor.
Written notice is required for exemptions sought with final determination left to Governor Justice.
Vice President Mike Pence took similar steps when he became governor of Indiana, Hall said.
“This has been received very enthusiastically by the Legislature and the business community,” Hall said.
“It’s trying to turn the Titanic, but we’re turning it and I think it’s going to create a new day for the state.”