The State of Arkansas

By
Updated: September 7, 2018

By Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Bills and laws that our legislators pass are assigned a number, which tells you nothing about the subject of the law.

But sometimes when legislation moves through the general assembly, it will pick up a nickname that describes its purpose.

The tradition of nicknames is a helpful shorthand for voters who try to keep track of legislation.

In keeping with that tradition, maybe we should call Act 781 of 2017 The Housecleaning Bill.

The Act, which I enthusiastically supported and signed into law, requires my directors in each state agency to inventory every rule and to get rid of all unnecessary rules that are outdated and serve no useful purpose.

To use a budgeting term, think of it as a line-item examination of state rules and regulations.

Basically, Act 781, sponsored by Representative Jim Dotson, requires agencies to sort through all their rules and to get rid of all unnecessary rules that are outdated and serve no purpose. Under The Housecleaning Bill, December 1 of last year was the deadline for each agency to file a preliminary report; and July 1 of this year was the deadline for the final list. All of my agency directors met that deadline.

This week, various legislative committees have been meeting with agency representatives, whose task was to defend the decision about every rule.

When you consider that we have nearly 3,400 rules and regulations in place, some of them dating back a hundred years, you understand that this housecleaning was long overdue.

Our agency directors recommended repeal of 830 outdated and unnecessary rules and regulations. In other words, 25 percent of all of our rules have been eliminated.

This has been a lot of work for our agencies, and much work lies ahead for our legislators. But when the work is done, our house will be cleaner, our government leaner.