Regulatory Action Center Review – June 5, 2020

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s ninth 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 This week, we bring you a special coronavirus edition, highlighting some of the government regulations that have been repealed to fight the pandemic.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.

1) Trump Administration Continues Historic Deregulation

Under Executive Order Executive Order 13771, President Trump made history by directing federal agencies to deregulate more than they regulate. As it stands, the Administration has eliminated 4.3 rules for every existing significant rule. In continuing this effort, the Administration will release much anticipated new benchmarks for agency abuse of guidance and other regulatory dark-matter.

2) Executive Order on Online Censorship Unlikely to be Implemented

Following a spat with Twitter fact-checkers, President Trump signed a new Executive Order to roll back Section 230 protections of the Communications Decency Act in a direct affront to First Amendment precedent. As Ernesto Falcon and David Greene of the Economic Freedom Foundation pointed out, “Despite the ham-fisted language, such a process can’t come into being. No matter how much someone might wish it.” Put simply, the President does not have the authority to overturn statutory precedent through executive action, meaning that the order is legally dead in the water.

3) EPA Seeking to Remove Barriers under Trump’s Guidance

In a recent call with oil and gas interests in Texas, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Steven Winberg, said that the Environmental Protection Agency is “all ears” for anyone who has recommendations for ways to remove regulatory burdens that might hinder our economic recovery. Merely weeks after President Trump directed agencies to begin reviewing regulations for rescission, many agencies have already begun to take positive steps to boost our economy.

4) Another Step for Transparency at EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday changes they’re making to regulations promulgated under the Clean Air Act. This new reform would ensure that the public would be informed of the costs and benefits of regulations under consideration. In a statement, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, “Today’s proposed action corrects another dishonest accounting method the previous administration used to justify costly, ineffective regulations.

Now that the worst of COVID-19 has passed, nearly every state in the nation has begun to open up. Here are some highlights from around the country.

5) Texas

Governor Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday that the state will soon move into Phase III of their recovery plan. Highlighting the continued decrease in intensity of the virus, Gov. Abbott told Texans to expect the opening of amusement parks, performance halls, museums, and other less-than-essential businesses, as well as increased capacity for those businesses that have already opened. The Governor also emphasized the importance of vigilance and recognized the Surge Response Teams who have been able to effectively manage hot-spots that inevitably arise.

6) Michigan

In Michigan, the laggard of the reopening states, Gov. Gretchen Whitmire has finally seen reason and lifted the states stay-at-home order. Unfortunately, the Governor’s Phase II plan is woefully insufficient, leaving far too many businesses with closed doors. The order is so stringent that “it is still a violation for a grandparent to hug a grandchild.” Hopefully Gov. Whitmire will continue down this path with haste.

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