House approves tighter legislative oversight of rulemaking


Lawmakers might soon be taking a closer, more critical look at the administrative rules promulgated by state agencies.

Rep. Mike Beard (R-Shakopee) sponsors HF2169/ SF1922* that would provide for greater legislative oversight of administrative rules, which have the full force and effect of law but which are created by state agencies rather than elected legislators. Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud) is the Senate sponsor.

The bill proposes several measures to increase legislative oversight, including:

  • requiring agencies to assess the cumulative effect of proposed rules with existing state and federal regulations;
  • requiring a number of state agencies to issue reports describing the rationale behind their existing rules and any recommended changes;
  • requiring agencies to notify the Legislative Coordinating Commission of their intent to adopt any proposed rules; and
  • requiring agencies to submit their rulemaking docket for the year and the previous year’s rulemaking record to the relevant legislative committees.

The bill in its current form has been scaled down from its original version, which proposed much tighter legislative oversight of rulemaking. Beard said he narrowed the bill’s scope in the hopes of getting it signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. He said he hopes the bill “re-engages the Legislature in the whole process of rulemaking.”

The House passed it 88-40. The Senate passed 50-12 on April 19. It now goes to the governor’s desk.

Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Savage) unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would have required the governor to sign off on administrative rules in order for them to take effect. Currently, the governor has the option to veto administrative rules, but does not have to approve them.

Supporters said the governor, as an elected official, should take greater responsibility for the rules created by his own agencies.

“Things that do have the force and effect of law should be signed off on by an elected official,” said Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville).

Opponents included Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), who said that complicated regulations like building codes are better left to “professionals” rather than politicians. The amendment failed on a vote of 54-74.