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Legislative task force recommends further restrictions to state agency powers

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics
Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown) is the chair of the Government Reform Task Force, which he said will meet again next year. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

A legislative task force this week approved, along party lines, recommendations that would further restrict the ability of state agencies to adopt rules and regulations.

Democrats on the task force said that while they agreed with a majority of the 12 recommendations, three of them needed further study.

Chief among the complaints was a recommendation that the General Assembly create a law that would block agency rules from taking effect without legislative approval, if those rules have a “a significant fiscal or regulatory impact.”

Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said that creates a separation of powers problem.

“I’m not interested in issuing regulations. I don’t think it’s my duty,” DeLaney said. “And I think, also, by the way, you’re pushing us in the direction of a full-time legislature.”

READ MORE: Indiana legislative leaders temper expectations of major action in 2024 session

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Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown), the chair of the task force, said the recommendation isn’t the end of the discussion.

“It would be our responsibility to define what ‘significant fiscal or regulatory impact’ is, not just use those words,” Garten said. “I think we would really need to get into that.”

Garten said the overarching aim of the task force and its recommendations is to promote collaboration — not mistrust — between state agencies and Indiana citizens.

Democrats also disagreed with recommendations that would direct state courts not to give state agencies deference when reviewing agency decisions.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.