BOISE — After eliminating or simplifying 75 percent of the state regulatory code last year, Idaho Gov. Brad Little wants to make sure the code book stays fit and trim.

To that end, Little signed two executive orders Thursday.

The first mandates that all remaining state regulations be re-examined once every five years, or 20 percent per year, to see if they’re still needed and are working as intended. It also imposes a temporary moratorium on new rules, through the end of 2020.

The second provides greater transparency regarding the guidance documents, manuals and other written material that agencies use to implement state laws and regulations.

“This is designed to prevent the accumulation of costly, inefficient and outdated regulations,” Little said during a news conference. “It’s a continuation of some of the good government things we want to implement. As I said in my State of the State address, when you reduce regulatory friction, good jobs follow.”

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, likened regulatory agencies to “hoarders” who fill their house with things they can’t bear to throw out.

“Government has a tendency to hoard rules and regulations, and it makes it difficult for citizens and businesses,” he said. “That’s what this (executive order) does; we cleaned out most of the (regulatory) mess last year, but now we need to keep things clean as we go along.”

Idaho’s regulatory code has been a frequent target for Little. Upon taking office last year, his first two executive orders directed agencies to simplify the state occupational licensing rules, and to cut two rules for every one they create.

However, his regulatory reduction efforts accelerated last summer, after a dispute over the Legislature’s administrative review procedures prompted the House to reject a year-end bill reauthorizing the state administrative code.

As a result, all rules and regulations were set to expire June 30. Agencies have since brought a portion of them back as temporary rules, but the process allowed them to eliminate or simplify 75 percent of the code.

Under the new “zero-based regulation” executive order, approximately 20 percent of the state code will be reviewed each year, to determine if it should be renewed or repealed. Before renewing a rule, the agency needs to consider whether it achieved the desired results, how the benefits compare to the costs, and whether less-restrictive alternatives exist.

“We’re looking forward to making Idaho as user-friendly as we can,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “That’s what government should be about.”

Spence may be contacted at bspence@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.

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