REINing in Regulations in Wisconsin

Aug 10, 2017 by AFP

This has been a banner week for regulatory reform in Wisconsin.

Thanks to the efforts of thousands of AFP-Wisconsin activists, Governor Scott Walker signed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act into law. The REINS Act states that any regulation that will cost businesses, municipalities, or the public more that $10 million dollars over a two-year period will require approval by the legislature.  

Wisconsin is the first state – more properly the first political entity – in the entire country with such a law.  Not even the U.S. Congress has managed to pass its version of the REINS Act.  This common sense reform will improve the Badger State’s regulatory and economic climate for Wisconsin small businesses and families.

Walker’s signature comes as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a jaw-dropping report this week that found the Wisconsin Administrative Code (WAC) contains 159,253 restrictions, 12 Million words, and would take an individual seventeen weeks to read in its entirety!

Wisconsin small business owners do not have that kind of time to keep up with all of the regulations that come out of Madison. They cannot afford the extra lawyers, accountants, and compliance experts to help them navigate the maze of government red tape. They are focused on running their business, creating jobs, and spurring economic activity in their communities.

Americans for Prosperity – Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott discusses the merits of the REINS Act in his recent op-ed in Forbes:

The REINS Act, introduced by state Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and state Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee), restores much-needed transparency to the rule making process by requiring that the costliest of regulations receive approval from the full legislature before taking effect. The need for this reform is clear.

This growing regulatory burden at the federal and state levels represents a threat to both our economy and our democratic institutions.

Under the REINS Act, any regulation costing businesses, local governments or the public $10 million or more over a two-year period will require approval by the legislature.

It’s a change that’s long overdue.

By limiting the power of state agencies to unilaterally impose costly rules, these reforms will provide long-term regulatory certainty to Wisconsin businesses. Over time, an improved and honest regulatory environment will attract new investment and jobs.

Gov. Walker should waste no time signing the REINS Act into law. The bill will do much to restore democracy to the administrative rules process, improve transparency and allow citizens to better hold elected officials accountable.

Read the full op-ed in Forbes here.