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New rules taking effect despite Pence moratorium

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Dozens of new rules and regulations have been implemented in Indiana in recent months despite an executive order Gov. Mike Pence signed on his first day in office creating a moratorium on them to allow his administration time to weed out unnecessary policies.

That's because Pence's order allowed any rules agencies had already started to continue through the approval process and granted exceptions for matters of safety, health or emergency or to meet federal requirements.

State Budget Director Chris Atkins tells The Journal Gazette that although the Office of Management and Budget has approved about 30 new rules and regulations, many agencies haven't tried to implement new rules this year. The notices of intent to file a new rule dropped 72 percent in the first five months of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.

Some of the rules that have been approved this year include one allowing a dog park in Fort Harrison in Indianapolis and another allowing alcohol sales within the Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion.

Requests that have been rejected include a plan to increase tolls on the Wabash Memorial Toll Bridge in southern Indiana and a Department of Natural Resources rule that would have added provisions regarding notice to adjacent landowners for game bird shooting preserves.

Atkins says work has begun to review the state's 11,000 pages of administrative rules to identify those that are unnecessary or are burdensome. The state plans to set up a website to collect opinions and will examine the permitting processes residents must follow. Public input will help guide the review process.

Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, former chairman of the Administrative Rules Oversight Committee, said rules are necessary but that he thinks the review is a good idea. He said some rules licensing various professions can become onerous and limit competition.

"Once these rules go in, unless it's really outrageous it's really difficult to get them out," he noted.

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  • Strange but true
    Sometimes businesses want rules from government, particularly when a statute produced by our awesome legislature is vague or leaves important questions unanswered. It helps resolve uncertainty and done properly can seriously limit the discretionary/arbitrary power of bureaucrats.

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