Reviewing regulations

One of the new laws passed in this year’s session of the General Assembly concerned regulations. What was done and why? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“North Carolina passed something called the Regulatory Reform Act. And this is really something quite new, and I’m not aware of anything like this in other states.

“What this is going to require state agencies to do is to review all of the regulations they have on the books and evaluate them in terms of benefits and costs and come up with a scoring system for those regulations. If an agency is not able to do that kind of review, the regulation — actually by this law — is going to go away.

“Now this is going to create a lot of work. Many will argue, of course, that it’s needed work; that we need to periodically review these regulations. So in that sense, it’s good.

“Now there are folks who are not happy about this. They worry that this new law will perhaps be used to push back regulations. For example, some worry about what’s going to happen in the environmental area. And evaluating regulations is often very, very difficult because, for example, in the environmental and natural resource area, it’s often very hard to put a dollar amount on certain kinds of effects.

“But this is now law, and it’s going to be very, very interesting to follow this law to see how it is implemented.”

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