Augusta Free Press

Governor Northam, Speaker Cox announce bipartisan agreement on regulatory reform

Governor Ralph Northam and House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox today announced bipartisan legislation that will implement a regulatory reduction pilot program to remove burdensome and unnecessary regulatory requirements facing hard working Virginians.

“Promoting the health, safety, and prosperity of Virginians is the chief mission of our state agencies, and regulations can be a helpful tool in that mission,” said Governor Northam. “However, we have a responsibility to constantly evaluate every regulatory requirement and policy to ensure that it is doing its job in the least restrictive way possible. I look forward to working with the General Assembly on this bipartisan priority to make our regulatory system work better for all Virginians.”

“For several years, the House has worked to advance a regulatory reform initiative that would eliminate some of the burdens facing entrepreneurs and small businesses. Thanks to the willingness of Governor Northam and Secretary Aubrey Layne, we have reached a bipartisan compromise on a longstanding priority of the House,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “We know that red tape hinders entrepreneurs, innovators, and small and large businesses alike from creating more of the good paying jobs that our people need. This pilot program will significantly reduce regulations in two heavily-regulated areas and lay the foundation for further efforts to reduce regulations across state government, helping our economy and making government more efficient at the same time.”

House Bill 883 creates a three-year regulatory reduction pilot program that will be administered by the Department of Planning and Budget. The program will focus on the Department of Professional and Occupational Licensing and the Department of Criminal Justice Services, with a goal of reducing or streamlining regulatory requirements by 25 percent.  Further, the Department of Planning and Budget will track and report on the extent to which agencies comply with existing requirements to periodically review all regulations every four years.

“We’ve seen the positive effects of regulatory reform on our national economy during the last year,” noted Senator Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules. “By establishing a framework for regulatory reduction, this pilot program has the potential to reap positive benefits for Virginians well into the future.”

“I commend Governor Northam and leaders in both chambers for working together on a bipartisan initiative that will make our regulatory system work better for families and businesses all over Virginia,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax). “By piloting this effort in two key agencies, we can calibrate our approach to protect the wellbeing of Virginians without unduly burdening citizens and job creators.”

“Regulatory reform has been a major focus of mine over the past several years. I appreciate the Governor and the Speaker for their leadership on this matter and I look forward to working with all involved to reduce the burdens on our citizens and businesses,” said Michael Webert (R-Fauquier), the bill’s patron. “The goal of this pilot program will be to reduce regulatory requirements, compliance costs, and regulatory burdens across both agencies by 25% over the next three years. This will make these agencies more efficient, reduce regulatory burdens, and give us a clear model to replicate across state government.”

“This pilot program will help Virginia develop a template for smart regulatory reform. In a dynamic economy, responsible regulation is an important tool to protect workers and consumers from abuses,” said House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville). “We can always work together to strengthen our approach and this legislation advances that important cause.”



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