Regulatory Action Center Review – July 12, 2019

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s twelfth regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: With lawmakers currently debating heavily regulating the tech industry, it is important to be reminded that many of the things we now take for granted are the direct result of leaving the market free. Relaxed regulations and benign neglect allowed for such innovations as FM radio, locally broadcast television, and the iPhone. In this weeks video, Former Chief Economist of the FCC Thomas W. Hazlett discusses how deregulation is responsible for the incredible innovations we’ve seen in media.

2) Judge rules against Trump on drug pricing disclosures: “A federal judge on Monday sided with a coalition of drug companies and blocked the Trump administration from implementing a policy that would require prescription drug manufacturers to disclose list prices in TV ads. ‘To be clear, the court does not question HHS’s motives in adopting the [rule],’ [the judge] wrote. ‘But no matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance.’”

3) Despite sentencing reform, the US Bureau of Prisons is holding thousands of inmates illegally beyond their release dates: “Robert Shipp is serving the remainder of a federal prison sentence on an ankle monitor in Chicago, Illinois. But Shipp is being held unlawfully by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. Even though he was due to be released from custody last month under a change in federal law, the BOP has refused to release him while it waits until July 19, 2019 to apply the new law at its discretion. There are some 4,000 federal prisoners like Shipp across the country who sit in limbo at BOP’s mercy.”

4) Environmental groups fight EPA’s new FOIA rule: “A coalition of environmental groups pushed back Monday against a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that could restrict access to public records. The new EPA rule, the details of which were first reported by The Hill, allows the administrator and other political appointees to review all materials requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process.”

5) Steve Forbes: Trump deregulation boosting our economy – Here’s one example: “One example of the president delivering his deregulation promise came in late May when the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration abandoned a costly regulatory proposal issued by President Barack Obama.The measure would have forced private freight railroad carriers to continue operating with two people in a locomotive cab. This proposed Obama, anti-business mandate was always wrongheaded, and its revocation carries important lessons for how best to regulate.”

6) TTB MOVES FORWARD WITH PROPOSED DEREGULATION OF WHISKY BOTTLE SIZES: “In a move certain to set off fireworks within the distilled spirits industry, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Tax & Trade Bureau appears to be “fast-tracking” a plan to eliminate most of the requirements for distilled spirits and wine bottle sizes. The agency published its notices of proposed rule making on Monday, kicking off a public comment period that will end August 30.”

7) What Does Risk-Based Regulation Mean?: “It is almost universally recommended today that regulators and regulation become “risk-based.” The widespread enthusiasm for risk-based regulation may be partly a function of the ambiguity of the “risk-based” concept: it can mean different things to different people. At one level, any regulator with a mission to address risks of economic activity—accident risks, environmental risks, financial risks, and so forth—will be inherently “risk-based.” But risk-based surely must mean something more.”