Republicans tout, progressives rebuke newly proposed Iowa regulatory reforms
Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate and the Branstad administration have rolled out a set of nine initiatives related to regulatory reform that they say will expedite business and business expansion in the state, but progressives who attended a series of meetings the GOP lauded as precursors to the proposals are calling foul.
According to a GOP press release, “these initial reforms came about as a result of their highly successful and very well attended 11 city tour this spring.” The release notes that more than 1,000 Iowans attended, nearly 175 testified and approximately 300 public comment forms were collected.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a statewide progressive group that calls on government and corporations to put people first, believes that the Republican proposal is ignoring the testimony of more than 175 of the organization’s members who attended public hearings across the state, calling for “stronger and more effective public oversight over factory farm polluters and other big-moneyed corporations.”
The nine initiatives, which the GOP has pledged to champion in the 2012 General Assembly, are:
- All state departments and agencies have a searchable and user-friendly rules database on their websites.
- Amend the Iowa Code to require a five year rolling review of all administrative rules.
- Institute negotiated rule-making in Iowa.
- Public hearings for rules and regulations must be held at locations and times that are convenient for those impacted by the rules.
- Require regulatory analysis of all administrative rules for their impact on the private sector and job creation.
- Require state agencies to accept public comments on proposed rule making in an electronic format.
- Require that no state agency or Iowa rule making authority may create rules and regulations that exceed rules and regulations promulgated by a federal agency unless specifically authorized by the Iowa General Assembly.
- A full-time effort is consistently applied toward making Iowa’s rule and regulatory climate more hospitable.
- An extensive study should be commissioned by the Iowa Legislature detailing what the projected financial effects of current and proposed EPA and DNR rules and regulations on Iowa cities over a ten year period.
The full GOP report is embedded below.
Republicans believe that by fundamentally changing the process by which rules and regulations are created and implemented that they can provide a broader base of input by those businesses directly impacted and create more transparency for the public.
“Government should not be punishing the very people we need to grow this state and create jobs,” said Rep. Dawn Pettengill, a Mount Auburn Republican and member of the Administrative Rules Review Committee. “We need to have reasonable and responsible levels of rules and regulations that protect the public interest without placing an undue burden on our job creators, cities and taxpayers and these common sense reforms will begin to make real changes.”
Iowa CCI member Garry Klicker, a farmer and small business owner in Bloomfield who attended hearings in Oskaloosa and Burlington, described the GOP report as flawed and that the politicians should make oral and written testimony available to the public.
“[Iowa Senate Leader Paul] McKinley’s report is not credible because it ignores the testimony of at least 175 local-area CCI members who attended every single one of McKinley’s hearing across the state to demand strong and more effective public oversight over factor farm polluters and other big-moneyed corporations,” Klicker said.
“McKinley’s office claims they received more than 175 oral testimonies and 300 written testimonies. We believe that CCI members accounted for at least half of that total and we call on McKinley to immediately release all oral and written testimony to the public.”
A press release from Iowa CCI states the group’s belief that the series of hearings were “a disingenuous publicity stunt” specifically aimed to find public testimony that would support what the GOP already wanted to do regarding regulations the party refers to as “job-killing” or “burdensome” for businesses.
“Regulations don’t kill jobs, they protect our air and water quality, food and workplace safety, the public health, and our economic infrastructure,” Klicker said. “We don’t need less regulations, we need stronger and more effective public oversight to crack down on factory farm polluters, predatory payday lenders, and other big-moneyed corporate interests.”
Republicans indicate they will offer more specific initiatives regarding their list of recommendations at a later date; and that they remain “confident our list of recommendations will only continue to grow.”