Requiring Regulations Receive Senate Approval

S.556 would amend the Senate rules by adding a new rule requiring that within 60 days of any proposed agency regulation being submitted to the appropriate Senate committee for review (as is currently required) the committee must report the regulation to the full Senate. If the committee does not report the regulation in the appropriate time frame “a Joint Resolution disapproving the proposed regulation must be introduced in the name of the committee and referred in order to toll the one hundred twenty day period for automatic approval”.

This rule would help to prevent agency regulations from gaining the force of law absent approval from elected legislators. Under current law proposed regulations automatically become law if they are ignored by legislators for 120 days after being referred to committee. Allowing unelected bureaucrats to impose laws on citizens violates the proper separation of powers and undermines the idea of representative democracy. It is the place of legislators not bureaucrats to make law.

This reform would not be the most effective method of lowering South Carolina’s regulatory burden (a sunset law would be) but it may have some ability to reduce the overall level of regulation. More to the point however, is that this bill would help to restore the proper separation of governmental powers envisioned by the founders and enshrined in our constitution.

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