The 2016 edition of regulatory reform is beginning to emerge as both the House and the Senate piece together their respective versions, which focus on curtailing costly rules and making the process of imposing regulations more accountable to the public.
“This effort here is to address unnecessary and over-burdensome regulations that our citizens have identified,” Rep. Chris Millis, R-Pender, told the House Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday. “Each provision here is trying to remove unnecessary red tape.”
The Senate version would prohibit an agency from adopting a rule or set of rules with a projected total cost to businesses of $100 million or more over any five-year period. Any rule or set of rules betwe $10 million and $100 million over a five-year period would become effective only if the governor or a supervising Council of State member signs off on them. If the agency is a board or commission, such a rule would require support from at least 60 percent of its members.
Another provision in the Senate proposal would repeal a ban of computers, televisions, and other electronic devices in landfills and incinerators. It would also repeal a corresponding reporting requirement for local governments regarding recycling programs for discarded computer equipment and televisions.
Other measures in the Senate proposal include:
- Removing eight counties — Burke, Cleveland, Robeson, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, and Wilkes — from a requirement mandating annual vehicle emissions inspections.
- Requiring the Commission for Public Health to repeal two rules prohibiting the sale of turtles for purposes other than scientific, educational, or culinary.
A provision in the House plan seeks to clarify the role of franchisors as it relates to a National Labor Relations Board ruling. The provision would clarify that a franchisor is not the employer of a franchisee or employers of a franchisee for employment law claims under state law.
Millis said the NLRB ruling presented “a major amount of uncertainty” when it comes to the relationships between franchisors and franchisees. “It has to do with direct control versus indirect control,” Millis said. “A number of states, I believe nine or more, have already addressed this because of the federal ruling.”
Another provision allows landlords to pass on utility bills to tenants without having to register as a public utility, as is required under state law.
The House proposal also makes a couple of changes to the state’s public records law. One change would apply to downloadable public records or databases available online. An agency making such records available online would not be required to provide copies of the records through any other method or format. Another change would exempt the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people calling the Utilities Commission Public Staff with concerns or complaints from the public records law.
Yet another House provision would give the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs authority to review and certify that a proposed wind energy facility would not encroach upon or have a significant adverse impact on a military installation in the state.
Both proposals have provisions that eliminate or consolidate a number of reports by state agencies.
The Senate proposal cleared the Rules Committee on Wednesday and is scheduled for floor debate on Thursday. The House proposal still needs the approval of that body’s Finance Committee before hitting the floor.