“The Housecleaning Bill” repeals nearly 25 percent of all rules and regulations."

More than 800 outdated and unnecessary rules and regulations have been approved for repeal by legislative subcommittees, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at a news conference this afternoon at the State Capitol. 

The Governor made the announcement as he stood next to a stack of paper measuring over five feet in height and symbolizing the more than 15,000 pages of rules and regulations submitted by state agencies for elimination throughout the yearlong review process.

“This regulatory review has been a priority of my administration,” said Governor Hutchinson. “From the beginning, I recognized that this review would be a challenge for our agencies. But I also recognized the importance of doing so, and I am grateful for the legislative support and leadership of Representative Jim Dotson on this initiative.”   

Act 781 of 2017, sponsored by Representative Dotson of Bentonville, was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson in March of 2017. Known as The Housecleaning Bill, Act 781 required all agencies to review and assess every rule and make recommendations as to which ones should be eliminated. 

“Cleaning up Arkansas government and making it work better for the people is something we are always striving to do,” said Representative Dotson, who joined Governor Hutchinson at today’s news conference. “With Act 781, Arkansas just took a huge step toward that goal by cutting bureaucratic red tape almost 25 percent.  I commend all the hard work state agencies have done in the last year to make this first step of 'spring cleaning' incredibly successful.  Now begins the next phase of Act 781, ensuring that regulations in Arkansas are periodically reviewed so that they remain current and appropriate.  This will reduce the hassle of government for all Arkansans, by making government more straightforward and less complex.

Under The Housecleaning Bill, December 1 of last year was the deadline for all agencies to file a preliminary report, and July 1 of this year was the deadline for the final report, which included every agency’s recommendations to keep or eliminate each of its rules. All agency directors met that deadline and identified more than 800 outdated, unnecessary, or duplicative regulations for repeal. Legislative subcommittees began reviewing those recommendations last week.

“I am proud of the tremendous work by my agency directors and their staffs over the course of the last year. They took this process seriously and launched a very intensive review of all rules and regulations,” Governor Hutchinson said. “In addition, I greatly appreciate the work of legislators over the last two weeks as they reviewed hundreds of rules and regulations for repeal. It was no easy task. Because of that work, one-fourth of the regulations on the books will be eliminated.”

Nearly 3,400 rules and regulations were inventoried, reviewed, and assessed throughout this process. Of those, some rules date back a hundred years and are no longer applicable. The following are a few examples of irrelevant or obscure rules state agencies have identified for elimination:

• The Arkansas Racing Commission had on the books a formally promulgated rule which said racing fans should not be obnoxious in the stands. – https://goo.gl/WL6KtB 

• The Arkansas Insurance Department required insurance companies to submit blank but pre-numbered pages to the agency. – https://goo.gl/za11e4 

• Arkansas maintained rules on the books for commissions that no longer exist, having been eliminated by law. – https://goo.gl/C4hgVH

• The Arkansas Health Department had on its books a rule from 1964 requiring the use of “DeLuxe Cool White” shaded fluorescent tubes in cases displaying food. https://goo.gl/KjSHwn

Legislative subcommittees finished their review and approval process Wednesday afternoon. Recommendations will go before the Arkansas Legislative Council for final approval in the coming weeks.