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Regulatory Action Center Review - March 12, 2020

03/12/2020

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s second regulatory review of 2020! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with the latest regulatory actions from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back next week for the next edition.

Net Neutrality

When Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai first issued the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, pundits made apocalyptic predictions about the downfall of the internet. Nearly two and a half years later, the internet hasn’t imploded. On the contrary, it is thriving like never before. After a strenuous legal battle, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the vast majority of the order “remanding three discrete issues for further consideration by the Commission.” As a result of that ruling, the FCC has reopened the comment period for the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. Activists on the left are flooding the Commission with comments to try and attack Silicon Valley and the rest of the technology industry. It is crucial that activists fight back and engage with the Commission to support the Restoring Internet Freedom Order and further deregulation of the internet.

Spectrum

Also on the FCC’s docket this quarter is a common sense rule to open up the spectrum band. Over twenty years ago, during the first wave of internet innovation, the federal government designated a significant chunk of the spectrum to dedicated short-range communication. This technology never panned out, leaving 75 Megahertz of prime mid-band spectrum heavily underutilized. In an effort to promote efficient and fair use of the entire spectrum, the FCC has rightly determined to open up this section to alternative uses. For too long the federal government has been picking winners and losers in the administration of the spectrum. Just as the Bureau of Land Management operates under a multiple use mandate, so too the FCC should continue to allow multiple fair usage of the spectrum.

School Lunches

Under the Obama administration, First Lady Michelle Obama’s flagship program attempted to tackle our nation’s obesity problems through regulatory fiat. The administration set out strict rules for school lunches that failed to achieve their goal. Furthermore, these regulations represented a prime case of federal regulatory overreach, applying a one-size-fits-all approach to our nation’s diverse schools. Fortunately, the Trump administration has begun to roll back the bulk of these regulations. In 2018, the Trump administration curtailed many of the most stringent requirements in school lunches. Now, under a new rulemaking from the Food and Nutrition Service, the administration is continuing its deregulatory agenda by providing schools with greater flexibility in administering their school lunch programs. As the failures of the Common Core have shown, it should never be the job of the federal government to determine how local school districts should operate.

To submit a comment in support of the proposed rule, click on our landing page here.

Administrative Adjudication

One of the greatest dangers to freedom and liberty in the United States is the unprecedented growth of the administrative state. While there are only about 5,000 federal statutes that carry a criminal penalty, the number of federal regulations that carry a criminal penalty far exceeds 300,000. What’s worse, the vast majority of these “crimes” are tried through internal administrative adjudication rather than through traditional courts. Abuse in this system is rampant and many Americans are denied justice because of bureaucratic enforcement. The Trump administration has taken steps to reign in the administrative state, but much remains to be done. Towards this end, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has promulgated a request for information as to how they might reform administrative adjudication. The request covers everything from evidentiary standards to transparency regarding penalties and fines. Hopefully, this comment period will help to open up administrative adjudication so that the American people have a fair chance against the often arbitrary whims of the federal government.

To submit a comment in support of the proposed rule, click on our landing page here.

State Efforts

A new initiative in Ohio will allow the office of Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted to utilize new AI software to audit the state’s regulations. Husted has led the charge to review Ohio’s extensive regulatory code in an effort to cut red tape. The Common Sense Initiative has already eliminated the regulatory backlog Husted inherited in January. Although the project is projected to cost upwards of $1.2 million, the state is confident that the savings from reducing duplicitous and unnecessary regulations will far outweigh the costs. The use of this new software to aid deregulation is praiseworthy and we hope to see further innovation in this space