One of the bills on the legislative leadership’s wish list of possible veto overrides for its upcoming special session is H.B. 1565, known in some quarters as the “Lobbyist Jobs Act of 2010.”
It got that name because opponents said it would give interest groups another chance to weigh in on the rule-making process of state agencies. Back when Gov. Charlie Crist was deciding whether to veto it, I reported:
The bill would require state agencies, such as the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Environmental Protection, to assess the impact any proposed rule will have on the state’s economy. If the costs — including employment, private investment and economic growth — of any regulation are projected to exceed $1 million over five years, the regulation must be ratified by the legislature before it can take effect.
Thom Rumberger, chairman of the Everglades Trust, calls the bill “absurd,” saying its standards are so broad that it will hamper agencies’ ability to adopt most rules, since the cost estimates include such “indirect” factors as future economic growth.
Hank Largin of the St. Johns River Water Management District explains that state agencies pass thousands of regulations a year. Some are minor, but the if the bill passes, many could not be passed without approval by the legislature, which meets only 60 days out of the year unless a special session is called.
“It would affect virtually all of our rule-making,” he says.
The bill had passed both houses of the legislature unanimously, and was favored by builders, developers and other business groups keen on minimizing the prospect of future regulations.
Here’s the incoming legislative leadership’s take, from yesterday’s press release:
Problem: According to individuals and entities most affected by agency rulemaking, the current rule making process has not prevented some agencies from continuing to adopt rules that create significant fiscal impacts on small businesses and increases bureaucracy in ways unintended by the Legislature.
Contrary to the Governor’s assertion that the bill encroaches on the principle of separation of powers, it is entirely consistent with the constitutional policy setting role of the Legislature and prior rulings of the Florida Supreme Court. The courts have stated that rulemaking is a legislative function, within the exclusive authority of the Legislature under the separation of powers provision of the Florida Constitution … a state administrative agency has no authority to adopt rules apart from the authority delegated to it by the Legislature.
Effect of Override: Failure to override the Governor’s veto will allow executive agencies to continue adopting administrative rules with significant negative economic impacts at a time when the state’s economy is struggling to recover from the most serious economic downturn.
Crist’s veto message did say that he believed requiring agencies’ rules to be approved by the legislature violated the principle of separation of powers. He also wrote that the law could have unintended consequences:
If HB 1565 did become law, nearly every rule may have to await an act of the Legislature to become effective. This could increase costs to businesses, create more red tape, and potentially harm Florida’s economy.