HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Wednesday, House Republican lawmakers discussed efforts to prioritize regulatory reform. As of today, six-standing committees of the General Assembly are requiring the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) to conduct a comprehensive and expedited review.
Some of the letters require IRRC to review entire chapters of regulations, containing hundreds, potentially even thousands, of regulations. The letters were approved by the following committees: State Government, Judiciary, Children and Youth, Aging and Older Adult Services, Labor and Industry, and Health.
House Republican leadership say it’s all about limiting the size and scope of government to ensure it works efficiently for the people.
“We have sent several letters to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, using powers under the Regulatory Review Act, to require IRRC to review certain regulations, that have been in effect for more than three years and determine whether or not they are still in public interest,” said House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin).
Benninghoff, alongside several committee chairman, discussed efforts throughout the legislative session to fight against what they call “regulatory overreach” in recent years, citing examples like the fight against PennDOT’s bridge tolling initiative, or the Wolf Administration’s charter school regulations.
“Overregulation has a devastating impact on people across the Commonwealth, including those who run the businesses that employ our citizens and keep our economy going,” said Republican Policy Committee Chairman Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter). “For our commonwealth and our country to thrive, we need fewer regulations,” he added.
Causer discussed the burden of regulations on energy production and why he believes they’re playing a role in rising costs.
“The epicenter of that problem is clearly the overregulation of our energy industry. Restrictions on drilling and mining drive up costs for production, leading to higher costs for end users,” said Causer.
Republicans also pointed out that there were waivers for many regulations resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic, some of which lasted 18-24 months.
“If we didn’t need them then, why do we need them now,” asked Causer.
“It’s been our philosophy that if you can suspend a waiver or regulation for 18 to 24 months, it begs the question, do you still need them or should they at least be modified,” said Benninghoff.
Benninghoff says government has a responsibility to monitor itself, especially when it comes to dated or irrelevant regulations that could limit business and job growth.
“I think there’s a universal belief, both Republican and Democrats, that government has an inherent responsibility to continue to monitor itself and reshape itself, and regulatory reform is one of them,” said Benninghoff.
A spokesperson for House Democrats shared the following statement on the standing committees’ request of the regulatory review.
“Reviewing Pennsylvania’s regulations is at the heart of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission’s mission, and House committees, like any public citizen, can request that IRRC review a regulation.”