Friday 22 February 2019
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Reining in Regulatory Overreach

New Legislative Package Would Help Pennsylvania Combat Aggressive, Excessive Regulatory Restrictions

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) is serving his 10th term in office and his fourth consecutive session as the Republican majority chairman of the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee.

The House State Government Committee is responsible for reviewing legislation dealing with all aspects of state government, including proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution, statewide initiatives and referenda, Election Code reform and the Regulatory Review Act.

The Legislature must act to avenge the ever-increasing injustices of Pennsylvania’s restrictive regulatory environment. Overregulation caused by unelected government bureaucrats is killing family-sustaining jobs, strangling opportunity and stifling economic growth.

Pennsylvania’s high tax burden and unfriendly business climate, caused in large part by overregulation, are driving more citizens and job-creators to vote with their feet.

During the past year, the labor force in Pennsylvania experienced the largest drop in three years, decreasing by 56,000 people. In 2016, Pennsylvania lost 19,000 taxpayers to other states and more than $2.6 billion from state-to-state moves.

In June 2017, as chairman of the House State Government Committee, which has oversight of the Regulatory Review Act, I convened a series of public hearings to further investigate regulatory overreach in the Commonwealth. My committee received testimony from various small businesses, organizations and experts on state regulatory policy.

Dr. James Broughel from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia confirmed that Pennsylvania currently has more than 153,000 regulatory restrictions that reach across every industry operating within the Commonwealth. Overregulation not only puts Pennsylvanians at serious risk of losing family-sustaining jobs to other states where regulatory compliance is less onerous, but can even weaken the effectiveness of legitimate health and safety regulations already in place.

Another significant finding is that Pennsylvania’s Regulatory Review Act does not give the Legislature any authority to repeal a regulation without the governor’s approval. Not surprisingly, regulations created under the administration of governors — both Republican and Democrat — have been piling up for decades. These findings suggest that Pennsylvania’s regulatory culture needs improvement starting with the front end of the process, in which regulations are drafted and promulgated. Our findings have been divided into three separate categories.

The first category is that the regulatory culture and application of regulations should be collaborative with and educational for those who are regulated instead of punitive. The second category is improving the regulatory culture by systematically reviewing existing regulations. The third and final category is to improve the regulatory culture by stopping bad regulations before implementation.

Clearly, excessive regulation inhibits the growth of Pennsylvania’s economy. Members of the General Assembly need to use every tool available under the current law in order to ensure that Pennsylvania’s regulations encourage, rather than discourage, the entrepreneurial spirit of hard-working job creators. The General Assembly also must advance legislation that improves the regulation-making process and reduces the overall regulatory burden.

In January, I hosted a state Capitol press conference to introduce a legislative package aimed at reining in the burdensome and excessive regulatory environment that is currently harming our Commonwealth. This legislative package will help Pennsylvania combat aggressive and overreaching regulatory restrictions.

The legislative package includes bills introduced by Representative Dawn Keefer (HB 1237), Representative Kristin Phillips-Hill (HB 209), Representative Kerry Benninghoff (HB 1792), Representative Greg Rothman (HB 1959) and Representative Brian Ellis (HB 1960).

As majority chairman of the House State Government Committee, I am committed to advancing legislation that changes the law in order to streamline and modernize Pennsylvania’s job-killing, regulatory environment.