Under the Dome

Sweeping regulatory reform legislation taking shape

Some sort of regulatory reform could emerge from the General Assembly in its waning days, but right now the details are a fast-moving target.

On Wednesday, a new version unexpectedly materialized in the Senate Rules Committee, adding more than two dozen new sections to a bill that the House had put together last week.

Both bills – SB112 and HB74 – address a grab-bag of regulatory issues, from environmental to workplace and more. Since HB74 is so extensive and committee members didn’t have copies of it until the meeting, the bill will return to Rules on Thursday and likely voted on.

That will leave the House and Senate with another disagreement that leaves in question whether the underlying issues will be addressed in legislation this session or not.

Fundamental sections of the bills are the same: establishing a three-tiered process for evaluating the rules and regulations that state agencies impose based on laws the General Assembly passes. All agencies would be required to determine whether the thousands of rules they impose are necessary but controversial, necessary but not controversial, or unnecessary.

The Senate’s version doesn’t include provisions in the House bill that have local governments up in arms, restricting the extent of local zoning ordinances and prohibiting the use of citizen protests against zoning maps.

It also drops the House provision that would subject the administrator and deputy commissioners on the Industrial Commission to political hiring and firing.

It requires a study be done to determine if independent licensing boards should be consolidated.

A new provision was added in response to the deaths of three people by carbon monoxide poisoning in a Boone hotel this year. It directs the Building Code Council to require lodging establishments install electrical carbon monoxide detectors in every enclosed space with a fossil-fuel heater, applicance or fireplace, and in any enclosed space that shares a wall with such a space.

Other provisions include limiting city and county authority to regulate billboards, alternative rules for cattle waste lagoons, and directing the Mining and Energy Commission how to handle the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking,

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