BOISE — A joint memorial aimed at curtailing the federal regulatory burden was introduced Friday in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, urges Congress to support a “Regulatory Freedom Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution.

Vick noted that the Idaho Legislature, unlike Congress, already has the constitutional authority to review new executive branch rules and regulations. The purpose is to ensure that any new rules are consistent with what lawmakers were trying to accomplish when they approved the underlying policy bill.

“This joint memorial is a request for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that gives them the ability to review (executive branch) rules,” he said. “They wouldn’t do it exactly like us, but the theory is the same.”

Vick said 28 states have passed similar memorials. His bill includes the specific language of the proposed amendment, which reads:

“Whenever one-quarter of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate transmit to the president their written opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”

If Congress were to adopt such an amendment, it would go to the states for ratification.

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, wondered what effect such an amendment might have on the pace of work in Congress.

“They’re so slow back there now,” Lodge said. “How much will this slow them down?”

Vick agreed the pace of work in Congress is notably slow, “but it’s not that they’re too busy. They just don’t do much,” he said. “Certainly this (amendment) would give them more to do, but maybe they’ll work harder.”

Vick’s memorial noted that the overall intent of the amendment is to make federal regulators “more accountable to elected representatives of the people.”

The State Affairs Committee introduced the measure on a voice vote, with Sens. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, and Cheri Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, voting in opposition. The bill should come back to the committee for a public hearing.

Spence may be contacted at or (208) 791-9168.

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