Gov. Little signs executive orders cutting government red tape

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 14:04:53-05

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Governor Brad Little Thursday signed his first two executive orders of 2020, both aimed at keeping Idaho regulations streamlined, user-friendly, and easy to understand.

The new executive orders build on the state’s regulatory reduction achievements in 2019, when Idaho cut and/or simplified 75 percent of regulations in a matter of months to become the least-regulated state in the country.

“My colleagues in the Legislature share my passion for making Idaho state government as user-friendly as possible,” Little said. “When we reduce regulatory friction, good jobs follow.”

Executive Order 2020-01, also known as the Zero-Based Regulation, institutionalizes the process Idaho underwent last year, where every regulation that agencies wanted to keep had to be justified, changing the burden of proof and combatting “bureaucratic inertia.”

Going forward, every rule chapter in effect will be reviewed by the agency that promulgated the rule, according to a staggered, five-year schedule.

About 20 percent of rule chapters will be reviewed annually.

The new schedule enables businesses and the public to engage in meaningful input on rules being reviewed.

“It is the nature of government to grow and for increased regulations to creep into our lives,” Little said. “My Zero-Based Regulation executive order is designed to prevent the accumulation of costly, ineffective, and outdated regulations over time.”

Little also signed Executive Order 2020-02 relating to transparency in agency guidance documents.

State agencies often rely on final orders as precedent -- or issue agency guidance documents -- to clarify existing statutes or regulations. Little’s “Transparency in Agency Guidance Documents” executive order requires agencies to clearly state that the guidance document is not a new law, and provide a point of contact so the public can ask questions or provide input.

It also requires that every active agency guidance document be posted on the agency’s web site, organized in a way that is easy for the public to navigate.

Agencies also must submit an annual report the Division of Financial Management detailing which final orders and agency guidance documents the agency uses and the purpose of each one.

“Both executive orders I signed further simplify regulations for the average citizen and small business,” Little said.

The Division of Financial Management will reach out to agencies to schedule training sessions and ensure they understand and comply with the new requirements established by the executive orders.

(photo courtesy: Office of Gov. Brad Little)