A bill introduced Wednesday would increase the Legislature's involvement in the process of approving new regulations.
A new rule has to be approved by either the House or Senate committee that deals with the topic — for example, education-related rules go before one of the Education committees, criminal justice-related ones before one of the Judiciary committees, etc. After one committee approves it, the only way a rule can be rejected now is if both the full House and Senate pass a resolution doing so.
House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, is proposing a bill that would change the process, requiring one of the committees to propose a concurrent resolution approving a rule that would then have to be approved by both the House and Senate.
"This just flips the burden," Moyle told the House State Affairs Committee.
House and Senate committees spend much of the first month or so of the session reviewing new rules being proposed by various state agencies. While many of them deal with fairly mundane or technical matters, some of them have far-reaching impact or can end up being controversial. For example, a proposed rule this year to add a meningitis vaccination requirement for students entering 12th grade generated some backlash and passed in both the House and Senate Health and Welfare committees by just a single vote. Proposed rules dealing with how climate change should be taught in Idaho schools have also been controversial in recent years.
Responding to a question from Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, Moyle said his proposal would mean the House and Senate would have to hold more votes on separate resolutions, rather than voting on a single omnibus resolution approving all the rules at the end of the session. But, Moyle said, that would be an improvement.
“I think that’s a positive thing,” Moyle said. “It’s not that hard for this body to pass a couple more concurrent resolutions. … Remember, rules have the effect of law, and it’s not bad to be open.”
The committee voted unanimously to introduce the bill, clearing the way for a full hearing later.