Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

The Assembly author of what backers call the REINS Act said the decision by the Joint Finance Committee to pull the guv’s version of the regulation overhaul from the budget isn’t a setback because he prefers the standalone bill anyway.

Still, Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Waukesha, said there are no assurances yet the bill will pass the Senate, where it bogged down last session. But he hopes to have it done yet this year.

“I still plan to go full-steam ahead with the legislation, and I anticipate getting it done by the fall,” Neylon said.

The guv’s language was one of 83 policy items Joint Finance pulled from the budget last week. Neylon’s standalone bill, AB 42, is in the Assembly State Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Rob Swearingen, a co-author of the bill. The Senate version, SB 15, had a public hearing March 30.

Myranda Tanck, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Senate Republicans were caucusing today. She said Fitzgerald expects the caucus to take up an overhaul of the legislative rulemaking process this session, but no final decision has been made on if Neylon’s bill, co-authored by Sen. Devin LeMahieu, will be it.

LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said he had been waiting to start talking to colleagues about the bill until he was sure how it would proceed. Now that it’s out of the budget, he’s been talking with Senate Republicans and hasn’t heard any objections yet.

“I’m pretty confident I’ll get to 17 votes,” he said. Republicans control the chamber 20-13.

The REINS Act Neylon and LeMahieu back is similar to Gov. Scott Walker’s budget provision in that both call for additional scrutiny of any proposed rule with an estimated economic impact of $10 million over a two-year period.

Either the Legislature would have to authorize its promulgation or the agency would have to reduce the economic impact.

Both versions also would require an agency to hold a preliminary public hearing and comment period on the scope of a proposed rule if directed by a co-chair of the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules.

They also differ in several ways, according to a Legislative Reference Bureau memo Neylon’s office shared:

*the guv’s budget would allow DOA to request an independent economic impact analysis; Neylon and Lemahieu’s bill would only allow a JCRAR co-chair or the full committee to seek one.

*the guv’s budget would allow DOA to contract for all economic impact analyses, including those requested by JCRAR or a committee co-chair.

*Walker’s budget would make emergency rules effective upon publication in the register; now they become official upon publication in the official state newspaper. The change would eliminate the need to have the emergency rule published in the official state newspaper, which is the Wisconsin State Journal.

*Walker’s budget called for stripping state agencies of their powers to promulgate emergency rules if they have not exercised it for 10 years or more.

Neylon said he’s considering an amendment that would also allow the Joint Finance Committee to request the economic impact analysis. He said Assembly leaders also have told them they’d like to strengthen the ability of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules to block a rule, which he said he’s open to.

This session’s version of the REINS Act differs from last session’s bill in several ways. That includes dropping references to the Office of Business Development and Small Business Regulatory Review Board. The previous version would have impacted their roles in the rules process, drawing opposition from the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

NFIB State Director Bill Smith said the group is now onboard after the provisions on the Small Business Regulatory Review Board were removed.

Along with NFIB, those backing the bill this session include WMC, MMAC and Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association. The only group that has registered in opposition is the Sierra Club.

Smith said the NFIB opposed the guv’s version because, among other things, it would allow DOA to request an independent economic impact. He said that would give bureaucrats too much of a role in the process.

“Our position is the people we elect should have a key role in developing policy,” Smith said.

See lobbying information on the bill:
https://lobbying.wi.gov/What/BillInformation/2017REG/Information/13729

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