Senate Bill Would Rein In State Regulatory Agencies’ Powers, Says Center Analyst

Bill would make legislators more accountable; improve Michigan’s job environment

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Contact: Russ Harding
Property Rights Network

MIDLAND — New legislation that would prohibit state agencies from promulgating rules that are more stringent than federal standards without legislative approval would go a long way toward improving Michigan's regulatory climate, said Russ Harding, director of the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. Senate Bill 434, which echoes a policy change Harding advocated more than four years ago, was approved by the Senate Economic Development and Regulatory Committee.

"Many environmental regulations that have serious impact on Michigan businesses and households are made in the cubicle of some state bureaucrat who is unaccountable to Michigan residents," said Harding, a former director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "Important environmental and other regulatory policies should be made by elected officials who are ultimately accountable to voters."

Harding said SB 434 would help in a number of policy areas, including wetland permitting, agriculture, property rights, air emissions and groundwater use.

"Requiring legislative approval before state agencies can promulgate regulations that are more stringent than federal requirements is a step toward curbing the current practice of regulation without representation," Harding added. "Many states that Michigan competes with for jobs have already instituted this common sense reform."