Governor Lee’s 90-day Freeze
BY JUSTIN OWEN
While the legislature is still gearing up for the 2019 session, new Gov. Bill Lee has wasted no time making do on his promises prior to being sworn in as our 50th governor. Today, Gov. Lee issued his fifth executive order, halting state agencies’ ability to enact new rules and regulations for the next 90 days. Regulatory red tape strangles our entrepreneurs and, especially when it comes to occupational licensing boards, often exists merely to shield industry insiders from competition rather than truly protect the public. Hitting pause on these regulations will help ensure that Gov. Lee gets his full team in place to hold agencies accountable and keep them from acting in impious ways. As Gov. Lee said in a press release:
“Our goal is to make Tennessee the most job-friendly state in the country and we are working to promote job creation and a commonsense regulatory approach.”
Most importantly, these government agencies should only be able to enact new rules and regulations if they are absolutely necessary to protect public health and safety. Beacon Impact, our advocacy partner, is exploring legislation to improve the existing Right to Earn a Living Act to cut down on unnecessary regulatory red tape. For example, agencies should explicitly state why their proposed regulation is necessary to protect public health and safety, they should have to state that rationale in writing, and if challenged, they should bear the burden of defending the correlation between the rule and the public’s health and safety.
Placing a moratorium on new rules and regulations is a great first step at preventing unnecessary government overreach. Hopefully the legislature will take the next step at keeping these agencies in line by building on the work they’ve already done to protect Tennesseans’ right to earn a living.