Law would curb the state’s regulatory burden.
What the REINS Act Would Mean for North Carolina
What if the North Carolina Legislature had to call a vote to pass regulations instead of just voting to block them? According to the John Locke Foundation, far fewer regulations would take effect, and this is the idea behind the REINS Act, which JLF recently presented to the North Carolina Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee.
A state-based REINS—Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny—Act would require the General Assembly to approve any regulation proposed by a state agency that would have a major economic impact. For a rule to be designated as having substantial impact, it would have to cost more than $1 million. If a joint resolution approving the rule was not passed within a set period of time, the regulation would die.
As it stands now, 99.9 percent of proposed regulations take effect, but only about 19 percent of proposed bills become law. According to JLF, the annual burden of state regulations in North Carolina—23,000 of them—is $3.1 billion at minimum, but could be as much as $25.5 billion; many of the regulations’ costs are hard to quantify. The REINS Act would bring the regulation-implementing process in line with that of other proposed laws.
A similar bill has been introduced at the federal level, passing the U.S. House of Representatives three times, but failing in the Senate. A bill has not yet been filed in North Carolina.