Bill calls for review of regulations

New state rules and regulations would be reviewed periodically under a bill considered Jan. 31 by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Sen. John Lowe
Sen. John Lowe

Under LB857, introduced by Kearney Sen. John Lowe, state agencies would be required to review all rules and regulations that they have adopted and file a report 10 years after the effective date, beginning with those enacted in 2021. The report would assess whether rules were effective and would be filed with the Legislature.

Changes in agency staff and in the composition of the Legislature can cause a law to drift away from its original intent, Lowe said.

“This bill will act as a check on state agencies by the Legislature,” he said.

Nicole Fox of the Platte Institute testified in support of the bill. She said Nebraska law contains more than 100,000 restrictions, creating a hidden tax on businesses and individuals.

“Regulations come with a price tag,” Fox said. “Their promulgation and enforcement require people, processes and systems in government agencies as well as in the businesses and organizations affected by those regulations. Individuals and businesses needing to follow these regulations find themselves needing to hire lawyers familiar with relevant regulations to assure they are complying.”

Dustin Antonello of the Lincoln Independent Business Association also spoke in support. He said some regulations can have negative unintended consequences, especially for small business.

“LB857 is a good first step in implementing the regulatory reform necessary to prevent rules and regulations from becoming an undue burden on local businesses,” Antonello said.

Ken Allen, director of the state Board of Barber Examiners, testified against the bill. He said the board has reviewed and updated its rules twice in the past few years.

“We’re already doing this and to throw this [requirement] on top—I don’t see the purpose,” Allen said.

The committee took no immediate action on LB857.

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