Under a provision added to a rulemaking bill that cleared a House panel Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott and members of the state cabinet may soon be able to bypass normal procedures and repeal hundreds of state agency rules currently under review by using an expedited “summary process.”
When Scott took office, he issued an executive order calling for a review of all agency rules under his purview. Executive agencies are currently reviewing thousands of rules — 11,118 as of Thursday evening. Some 1,423 rules or portions of rules have been recommended for repeal and 1,171 have been recommended for revision. The rules can be viewed on the governor’s new “Right to Know” website, and the numbers are updating quickly.
Patricia Nelson, of the governor’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform, told the House rulemaking committee Wednesday that the review period will come to an end on April 4, and that the proposed changes will allow the executive branch to eliminate hundreds of unnecessary and obsolete rules, a process that would be costly and burdensome under the existing procedures.
State Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, said he was concerned about the “wide latitude” the language appears to give the governor and the cabinet. The amendment says the procedures “include but are not limited to” examples given by Nelson — rules that are obsolete, lack legislative authority, or have been transferred to other agencies.
The amendment (which you can read in full below) specifies an “inaugural period” during which Scott and the cabinet can exercise their new powers: from the day new executive officers first take office through the end of the following June. During that time, they could repeal rules under the expedited procedure, which requires them to post the proposed changes online. “Any substantially affected person” would then have two weeks to object to the changes.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Thursday he hadn’t seen anything similar proposed the upper chamber.