Little republishes administrative rules

Gov. Brad Little published hundreds of state rules Wednesday as part of an effort to reauthorize administrative rules that the Legislature would have otherwise allowed to expire.

The massive publication in the Idaho Administrative Bulletin spans 8,334 pages and includes 595 different chapters of rules.

The move was necessary because all administrative rules were set to expire July 1 because the Legislature did not take the traditional step of passing a bill to extend all rules before ending the 2019 session. Little’s staff called the reauthorization process “the first of its kind in state history.”

Rules are important in Idaho because they have the force and effect of law, and because there are so many of them. State fees, public school academic standards, health and welfare rules, immunization guidelines and much more all take the form of rule in Idaho.

As Little announced this spring, his team published the rules as temporary and proposed rules concurrently with an effective date of June 30.

“This approach ensures the state’s administrative rules will continue to have the full force and effect of law,” Division of Financial Management Administrator Alex Adams and Rules Coordinator Dennis Stephenson wrote in a memo attached to the Administrative Bulletin.

That approach also means the Legislature will still be able to review all rules during the 2020 session. But most rules — with the exception of fee rules — can be ratified by a single legislative chamber, and won’t require the blessing of both chambers.

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As part of the reauthorization process, Little and state officials allowed rules that are unenforceable, obsolete or unnecessary to expire. As a result, the state reduced the overall volume of rules by 19 percent — down from 736 chapters to 595 — and simplified other rules.

Little’s office said state agencies conducted more than 40 meetings this year to identify which rules could be allowed to expire. The state then posted rules targeted for expiration to allow the public to weigh in with any concerns over the cuts.

“Nearly all public comments received suggested additional rules to cut,” Little’s office wrote in a press release Wednesday.

Throughout the reauthorization process, Little said his focus was to minimize the impact on the public and state government.

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