State regulators stay active, so red tape reformers must stay active, too

A new look at rule-making activity in North Carolina shows that state regulation, as the old beach tee puts it, keeps on truckin’.

In past years, the John Locke Foundation published a biannual policy “Agenda” booklet (the forerunner of our Policy Guide), which of course included a discussion of regulatory policy. Our Agenda illustrations included a graph of pages in the North Carolina Register with this explanation:

How many new pages are added to the North Carolina Register each year offers a quick snapshot of the state’s regulatory activity. Published twice a month, the North Carolina Register gives information on agency rule-making, executive orders, proposed administrative rules, contested case decisions, notices of public hearings, and other notices required by or affecting Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

With the last issue of the Register for Fiscal Year 2018 just published, I thought it would be worth updating the chart. Here it is:

Trend in State Regulatory Activity, 2000–2018

As you can see, the chart is boring. It’s a solid wall of regulatory sameness, give or take a few minor hiccups. If anything, there seems to be a slight drift toward more regulatory activity.

That’s why the General Assembly’s dedication to regulatory reform, which began under Republican majorities, is so vital. It’s also why policymakers need to stay the course for more red tape reduction efforts.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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