The Legislature’s job does not end when we pass a law. Once the law is in the hands of the Executive Branch they must promulgate the law. The law may be five, ten or twenty pages. The rules to implement it can amount to hundreds of pages.
It is the job of the Legislature to check these rules to make sure that they have not changed the intent of the law or unnecessarily burden local governments, business or individuals.
Historically, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) has been a critical tool in protecting separation of powers. The Legislature will pass a law that often times results in implementation by a state department. Administrative rules are developed by the department to provide a frame work for which the department carries out the law. The role of JCAR is to ensure that the rules are consistent with the intent of the law.
Administrative rules affect everyone in Michigan although some may not realize it or think that the administrative rule is actually a law. One recently proposed administrative rule that attracted attention was the rule that would allow the Department of Community Health to collect information regarding Body Mass Index (BMI) information in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). People were surprised that this policy could be done through an administrative rule.
Under current law, the committee can discuss pending rules. In order to strengthen the committee’s ability to ensure laws are being carried out properly, I introduced State Bill (SB) 274 to codify JCAR’s ability to hold a hearing on rules already in existence. This will allow JCAR to address problems associated with existing burdensome rules that inhibit job providers, discourage economic growth or concern the public.
The bill also clarifies what happens to a rule pending before JCAR at the end of a legislative session. It ensures that the committee has adequate time to thoroughly review rules when a new session begins. SB 274 was recently approved by the Legislature and will now head to the governor for his signature.
Source: State Senator John Pappageorge