Ballot Issue #1: Legislative Approval of Agency Rules
Voters will see three legislatively referred constitutional amendments on November’s ballot. Issue #1 requires legislative review of administrative rules and regulations for state department level agencies.
Currently state agencies have the power to create their own rules and regulations with no oversight, and some feel this leaves the legislature with no power to correct possible overreach. Unfortunately, several troublesome regulatory state agencies are not funded by the Legislature (for example, Game & Fish Commission, Highway Commission, and State Scholarship Lottery), while others are funded by grants and so would not be affected by this measure.
This piecemeal approach doesn’t address many administrative rules that directly affect the voters but Legislators say it’s needed because the executive branch, or state agency leaders (the “unelected bureaurats”) have more power than the state Constitution intended. Legislators have discussed other laws and constitutional amendments like this before, but this is the first time the Legislature has referred it to the voters.
While we believe in governmental power balanced between our three branches of government, we believe this is best accomplished through efficient operation — not by adding bureaucracy that doesn’t even completely address the problem it was designed to correct.
Some say this legislation disrupts the balance of powers in state government, and could allow a small number of legislators to effectively block an enacted law by refusing to approve the administrative rules attached to it.
Others say it is a good idea to have legislative oversight of the rules so the Legislature has a final say on how state agencies are run. However, we’ve seen, during this past legislative term, how a somewhat small group of legislators can work against the will of the electorate to block major legislation.
How will YOU vote on Issue #1?