New Senator Seeks Regulatory Reforms
As part of a larger coalition meeting, TRSA’s Jessica Skerritt recently met with Sen. Angus King (I-ME), one of a group of senators newly elected in 2012. However, Sen. King is no stranger to politics, having previously served two terms as governor of Maine.
Sen. King spoke about a bill he introduced with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that TRSA supports, the Regulatory Improvement Act. This bill would establish in the legislative branch the Regulatory Improvement Commission. The commission would evaluate and provide recommendations and propose legislation for reducing compliance costs, encouraging growth and innovation, improving competitiveness and protecting public safety.
Sen. King introduced the bill because of the anxiety and concern over what to do regarding regulations. He sees this as one of the biggest issues facing the country and Congress. He was appalled to hear that staffing levels for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) are a third of what they were 30 years ago. Yet, the amount of regulations that OIRA is expected to review has increased exponentially.
Additionally, Sen. King talked about how the two parties are getting nothing done and blame each other for the stalemate. He mentioned that at the prayer breakfast that morning, the prayer offered was for regular order, half in jest but half in truth. He said many senators feel like the heart of the problem is the amendment process in the Senate, where neither side can offer amendments because the other side is worried about what those amendments cover.
Despite the chamber’s current challenges, Sen. King remains optimistic in general and has high hopes for his upcoming years in the Senate.
Skerritt is TRSA’s manager of environmental affairs and counsel.