This legislation requires state agencies to re-propose all pre-1997 regulations. It is highly redundant and reveals that the sponsor is highly misinformed about what the experts within state agencies already do to keep regulations—which provide such protections as clean air, water, and accountability for pollution—up-to-date. This legislation increases the bureaucracy within agencies already struggling to meet responsibilities due to staff reductions.
It is important to note that agencies cannot adopt regulations unless they have statutory authority to do so. Often, standards are adopted at the express direction of the Legislature.
The State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) already directs agencies to review regulations every five years. Each year, agencies publish a list of rules to be reviewed that year, and the public can comment on whether a rule should be modified. If an agency seeks to change a rule in any way, it is treated like a new rule, and the public is involved throughout the rulemaking process. Regulations are often amended for consistency or to make technical updates, or repealed when they are wholly out-of-date.
This legislation would force all state agencies and the public to go through the rulemaking process all over again for all rules adopted before 1997. The alleged purpose of this bill is to “seek sunset of all New York State regulations in ten-year intervals, allowing for rules deemed necessary to be re-proposed.” This is essentially the opposite of what SAPA already requires: under SAPA, rules stay in place unless they should be repealed. This bill would repeal rules unless they should stay in place. A better use of state resources would be to continue periodically reviewing—not entirely re-proposing—older regulations.
A lesson that we all should learn from the contaminated water crisis in Hoosick Falls is the need to strengthen public health and environmental regulations, and not propose policies (like this bill) that obstruct agencies responsible for protecting us from pollution. This bill redirects agencies and authorities away from their daily responsibilities, to unnecessary clerical work.
This bill amends the State Administrative Procedure Act to require all state agencies to review and re-propose all regulations adopted prior to 1997.