Senate Bill 1205 — Administrative rules review

Phil Haunschild 2019 Senate bill ratings

Bill description: SB 1205 would require the Legislature to take affirmative action to adopt administrative rules proposed by executive agencies.

Rating: +1

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

In 2016, the Legislature passed and voters approved a constitutional amendment to codify in the constitution the practice of the legislature reviewing agency rules, something that had been done for years but whose legality rested on the possibility of a court ruling. The administrative rules which executive agencies adopt can carry the same force and effect as statutes passed by the Legislature.

Under the current law, legislative committees review the rules coming from the executive agencies which are germane to the committee. The Legislature can reject a rule change by passing a Concurrent Resolution through both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

If a committee declines to review a proposed rule, then the change goes into effect by default. If one committee in the House or Senate rejects a rule, but the committee on the other chamber ignores or adopts the rule, then it still goes into effect.

SB 1205 would require every rule to be approved by a Concurrent Resolution which originates in the germane committee which has reviewed the rule. This would require the Legislature to review every rule and take affirmative action to approve the rule, rather than allowing the rules to go into effect by default without oversight by elected officials.

By ensuring that elected officials take affirmative action to adopt a rule, and ensuring that unelected bureaucrats do not effectively become the policymakers, SB 1205 would hold our state government more accountable to the rules it passes.