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State regulations grow at slower clip

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
June 19, 2012 5:05 pm

State government made 406 additions to its regulatory rule book in 2011, according to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office, which credits the moratorium she declared on rulemaking for reducing new rules by more than a third.

The report out today recounts that 75 rules were eliminated and 483 were put on hold because of the moratorium, which was intended to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.

Rules are written by the state bureaucracy and are a step below the laws passed by the Legislature. The numbers reflect permanent rules, but a different category, emergency rules, actually saw increases because of the many budget changes.

There were 432 of those emergency, short-term rules, about a quarter to a third higher than in 2010, according to Gregoire’s office. (Some became permanent later, so there is overlap with the 406 permanent rules).

The moratorium is still in effect. Gary Smith, who leads the Independent Business Association, said in a statement it was a “successful” effort.

Of the permanent rules that did go through, nearly half were required by federal or state law or court order, and nearly a quarter were requested by the people being regulated. Others were related to budget cuts or government reforms, Gregoire’s office said. Another 28 were intended to address public health or safety concerns, such as one allowing hand sanitizer in day cares.

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