Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced the results of his Regulatory Reform Initiative. The RRI consisted of a comprehensive review of regulations currently in place, and has resulted in the repeal of regulations that are unnecessary or no longer in use, the reduction of unnecessary regulatory burdens on individuals, businesses, and other regulated groups, and the identification of statutes that require unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations.
As a result of the RRI, 167 regulatory actions have been filed, 848 sections of the Virginia Administrative Code have been repealed, and 678 sections have been reformed or streamlined. Included in the reforms are substantial cost savings to taxpayers in the form of reductions of fees, removal of excessive licensing procedures, and arduous permitting processes. Citizens, stakeholders, and twenty nine different agencies submitted reform recommendations. The RRI efforts were coordinated through the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website (townhall.virginia.gov) by the Economic and Regulatory Analysis Division of the Department of Planning and Budget.
The RRI is an extension of McDonnell’s efforts as attorney general to eliminate unnecessary and onerous regulations through his Task Force on Regulatory and Government Reform.
Speaking about the RRI, McDonnell said, “Good governance means in fostering an environment where citizens and business can thrive. By streamlining confusing code and eliminating unnecessary regulations we are making smart reforms that ensure that government works for the citizens. I applaud the work accomplished by the agencies who participated in the RRI for their efforts to make Virginia freer and fairer. Not only did agencies work diligently on identifying reforms, but we took an innovative approach and allowed the citizens and stakeholders to submit recommendations through our website. Working together we helped taxpayers keep more of their hard earned money by reducing fees, we’ve streamlined regulations, and permitting processes; all of which contributed to Forbes.com naming Virginia the ‘Top State for Business’ in the nation”.
The initiative resulted in hundreds of reforms, some examples of these reforms include:
- The Virginia Waste Management Board took action to provide relief from a burdensome permit amendment fee for solid waste landfills that are undergoing corrective action. It was charging landfill sites a fee of $22,860, but streamlining efforts within the corrective action program have reduced costs. These efforts allowed the board to decrease the fee to $3,000, a reduction of 87 percent.
- The Board of Medicine provided a one-time reduction in renewal fees for family physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, respiratory care practitioners, physician assistants, occupational therapists, radiologic technologists, acupuncturists, athletic trainers, and midwives.
- A change in permitting procedures will reduce costs ($7,000 per facility) for entities such as some electricity generators, paper manufacturers, and landfills, without affecting the environment.
- Manufacturers outside of Virginia have been taking advantage of costs subsidized by Virginia taxpayers for “street drug preparations” (bath salts for example) during forensic testing. The proposed changes would allow the Department of Forensic Science to charge the actual costs of the “street drug preparations” used in the forensic evaluation process, saving Virginia taxpayers thousands of dollars.
The full report can be viewed and downloaded here.
Regulatory changes that are not exempt from the Administrative Process Act involved executive branch review by the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Planning and Budget DPB, the appropriate Cabinet Secretary, and the Governor in accordance with the requirements of the APA and EO 14. Recommendations that have not completed this regulatory process will continue until finalized.