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Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s seventh regulatory review of 2020! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with the latest regulatory actions from the swamp. This week, we bring you a special coronavirus edition, highlighting some of the government regulations that have been repealed to fight the pandemic. Check back next week for the next edition.
As the momentum from the initial openings continues, some 30 states have already removed restrictions that were put in place for Coronavirus. Many of these states have taken a smart, local approach to reopening. Virginia, for example, has decided to allow the more rural areas of the state to open mid-May, while the hardest hit, urban areas of northern Virginia will remain closed until early-June. The variety of openings is wide, with some states only allowing certain businesses to open. Most importantly, all these states have imposed certain restrictions -- like occupancy restrictions -- to help ensure the health of the public.
States like Kentucky, New Mexico, and Vermont are soon to join the pack of reopening states. With justifiable caution, the governors of several states have anxiously watched Texas and Georgia take the lead. Now that these early states have shown how to reopen safely, many left-wing governors have come around to the economic reality that reopening is essential. Unfortunately, there remain some states like California, Illinois, and Michigan who have yet to indicate any signs of reopening.
Just last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) lowered the Community Bank Leverage Ratio from 9 to 8 percent, allowing hundreds of small, local banks exemption from the excessive scrutiny of bank risk profiles. These rules are intended for major corporate banks, not the local banks being worst hit by this recession. Led by Rep. Denver Riggleman, several House Republicans had sent a letter urging this action by the Federal Reserve and FDIC. This is just the latest instance of Congressmen using their bully pulpit for good.
One of the more significant actions to come out of the COVID-19 crisis has been the abundance of deregulatory action from the Trump administration. Along with this has come a growing movement to ensure that these actions do not expire with the emergency orders. In Congress, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) have both introduced legislation that would make all the regulatory repeals that happened under emergency authority permanent.
As summer harvest closes in, farmers across the country have been worrying how the COVID-19 lockdown might affect their livelihood. In Washington, policymakers have decided to allow farms to continue operation at full capacity so long as they provide cloth masks for their employees. This decision comes on the back of litigation from farm workers unions who argued against the dangerous conditions of unprotected work.
In several states, there is already ongoing litigation over the constitutionality of allowing governors to single-handedly shut down the economy. In Wisconsin, this question came to a head on Wednesday when the state Supreme Court overturned the order from Governor Tony Evers. The court’s 4-3 decision found that Gov. Evers abused his power in unilaterally mandating the stay-at-home order, without any consultation with the state legislature. This will, most likely, be just the first in a series of similar decisions across the country.