Monday, July 18, 2011

Engaging Regulatory Reform Efforts

The flurry of federal regulatory activity taking place in the last couple years has led to renewed attention to regulatory reform efforts to scale back the growing scope of government agency rules and ease the burdens of bureaucratic restrictions. In a newly-published article in Engage titled "Prospects for Regulatory Reform in 2011," Susan Dudley provides an excellent introductory and overview of current regulatory reform initiatives, with a special attention to legislative efforts in the 112th Congress. Dudley formerly served as Administrator for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and currently serves as director of George Washington University's Regulatory Studies Center.

Dudley's Engage article begins with a useful background section, tracing regulatory reform implemented in the mid-1970s to mid-80s, as well as mid-90s reform proposals from the 104th Congress. Dudley focuses primarily on two categories of reforms for the 112th Congress to consider. The first category includes procedural reforms – that is, reforms to the processes by which regulations are adopted. The other category emphasized by Dudley includes decision criteria reforms – in other words, "improving upon the decisional criteria by which regulatory alternatives are evaluated." Both categories include a handful of different legislative approaches to regulatory reform that merit careful consideration by Congress.

And speaking of procedural regulatory reforms, FCC process reform, in particular, is a subject of continuing interest in policymaking circles this year. Free State Foundation recently posted the panel discussion transcript for its lunch seminar entitled "Regulatory Reform at the FCC: Why Not Now?" The panel followed a keynote address by Congressman Cliff Stearns, Chairman of the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. FSF President Randolph May moderated the event, and offered his own views in testimony at a June hearing on "Reforming FCC Process" before the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.