Rep. Sterling: Update from the Capitol

By Rep. Danny Sterling

I wanted to provide a couple of updates that are going on in the House. House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell on Tuesday passed a bill in the House Administrative Rules Committee that he said will ensure agency rules go through a more transparent and thorough process before being approved or repealed.

Senate Bill 913, by O’Donnell and Sen. Julie Daniels would create the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to review and recommend to the Legislature approval or repeal of agency rules.

The problem is, we currently have one House committee dedicated to overseeing rules from almost 200 agencies, boards and commissions during the crush of the four-month legislative session. This measure would establish a committee that would meet throughout the year to review these rules to see which might need to be removed or amended. This would lead to much greater transparency and greater input into the rule-making process.

The measure directs the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate to establish the JCAR comprised of current members to consider proposed rules, amended rules, and repeal requests submitted by an agency. Those rules approved by the committee shall be presented to the Legislature for final approval for repeal.

The legislation also addresses repeal of agency rules by the governor.

No agency may adopt, amend or revoke any proposed rule if it receives express written disapproval from the governor or a cabinet secretary within 30 days of the agency providing the executive with note of the rule. The governor would be required to give notice of disapproval along with a statement of purpose for the desire to repeal to the speaker of the house and the president pro tempore of the Senate. Upon completion of a public comment period, the joint committee then may schedule a hearing on the agency repeal request. If the committee approves the repeal, it shall be presented to the Legislature for final approval.

The measure also would require every state agency to publish agency rules on its website, including those exempt from the Administrative Procedures Act. Agencies also would be required to respond to small businesses requesting a review of their rules no later than 90 business days and to the Legislature or governor within 30 days instead of the 90 days currently provided for in law.

SB 913 passed committee with a vote of 9-0 and now is eligible to be considered by the full House before moving to the governor to be signed into law.

A bill that would require initiative petitions to indicate if the proposed measure will have a fiscal impact on the state, and if so, name the potential funding source passed the House Appropriations & Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 947, by Rep. Tammy West and Sen. Paul Rosino would require the fiscal information to be contained on petitions seeking signatures to bring state questions to a vote of the people on a statewide ballot.

Several of the state questions that have passed in recent years have come at great cost to state taxpayers. This would require they state the potential impact to taxpayers and specify the source of such funding. If taxpayers are going to be asked to raise taxes to pay for something added to state law, they should be made aware.”

SB 947 specifies that if a proposed measure would require a legislative appropriation, which might require the imposition of a new tax, increase of an existing tax or elimination of existing services, that such language be included on the initiative petition. The measure expands the word limit for a ballot title on an initiative petition to 300 words if the proposed measure has a fiscal impact on the state. Currently, ballot titles are limited to 200 words.

SB 947 passed committee on a vote of 32-6. It is now eligible to be considered by the full House before being sent to the governor for his consideration of signing it into law.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns please reach out to me and my office. You can reach me by email at or my office phone number is (405) 557-7349.