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Governor Walker Has REINS Act On His Desk

Max Pixel FreeGreatPicture.com

A measure is waiting Governor Walker's signature that changes how some laws passed in Madison are administered. The Assembly and Senate have passed the REINS Act. REINS is an acronym for Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny.

Proponents say the bill gives citizens and industry a voice in rules affecting them. Opponents believe it's a thinly- veiled attempt to make it more difficult to regulate what needs regulating.

Right now, after a bill becomes law, agencies work on writing the details of how to implement the law.

Known as Administrative Rules the rules are looked at by the Legislature through a committee and discussed at public through hearings.

Republican Representative Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander chairs a committee that heard the bill...

"....one of the provisions is if there's a new rule, we put a cap on that for $10 million. Any agency wishing to pass a rule that would incur more than $10 million in cost, they must get approval from the legislature before the rule goes forward. It actually puts more power back into the hands of the people and the legislature. It actually takes some away from the Governor himself..."

Democratic State Senator Kathleen Vinehout wrote an editorial, saying it actually didn't change the structure where that vetting goes across the Governor's desk. Vinehout used an example if a manufacturing process caused the death of thirty people. Implementation of a rule to change the manufacturing process statewide would cost over $10 million. The value of the business costs would be weighed but not the value of human lives saved because of protections put in place by the rule. Vinehout said its possible laws that could be stopped from being implemented might be related to many categories, including human and plant health and consumer protection.

Similar bills have been brought up this year at the federal level, and another bill passed the U.S. House two years ago. The federal limit is $100 million.

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