Tennessee state GOP lawmakers Representative Glen Casada and Senator Jack Johnson, both from Franklin, announced they have filed HB 500 and SB 595 to modify the TCA and create the Office of the Repealer.
Under the direction of the Office of Tennessee’s Secretary of State, Tre Hargett, the Office of the Repealer would be tasked with “Investigating and collecting information regarding the state’s laws and rules and regulations to determine instances in which such laws and rules and regulations are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, contradictory or unnecessary;”
Representative Casada noted that once the idea for creating the Office of the Repealer had been conceived, rather than risk reinventing the wheel, he checked to see if any other states had undertaken such a comprehensive review of their legal code. His research revealed Kansas had enacted similar legislation. Tennessee’s law is modeled on the Kansas bill.
Regardless, this effort continues Tennessee’s cutting edge commitment to good governance and reducing legislative and regulatory burdens on citizens and business alike. It is a welcome first glimpse into the intentions of Tennessee’s GOP super-majorities in its House and Senate. Such actions bode well for keeping Tennessee positioned as one of the best states in the union in which to live, work and conduct business.
Even more important is that the process is not exclusive to government. It will include citizen input as well. Reminiscent of Ron Ramsey’s opening of the redistricting process to input from citizens and interest groups from across the state, the Office of the Repealer, by statute, has the authority to “Receive suggestions to modify or repeal statutes and rules and regulations from citizens and government departments and agencies;”
This opening up of the process to more than legislators provides a welcome additional layer of accountability in government. Now lawmakers don’t just answer to voters every couple of years. Now their work is immediately subject to review and counter from the very citizens subject to the laws.
From these suggestions and from its own audit, the Office of the Repealer will then make recommendations to the General Assembly and to specific state departments and agencies on what should be repealed and why. These recommendations are non-binding.
In addition, the Office of the Repealer will submit a quarterly report on its activity to the Secretary of State and the Speakers of both the Tennessee House and Senate along with an annual report to “the secretary of state, each member of the general assembly, the governor and the heads of affected state departments or agencies …”
Asked what the inspiration for the bill was, Representative Casada explained, “Two things … I believe threats to our freedoms arise from too much government, not too little government. In addition, governmental bureaucracy meddles in the affairs of the people by interpreting legislation. The less legislation there is to interpret, the less opportunity exists for them to meddle.”
Rather than create a perpetual office and yet another bureaucracy, the Office of the Repealer has a four year life. The salary for the position has been set at $75,000.00 annually. But there is no fiscal note attached to the Office’s implementation. The support staff for the Office will come from existing staff at the Secretary of State’s office and the costs of the position itself will come from a funded position under the Secretary of State which had not been filled.
No fiscal note; no permanent government bureaucracy; citizen powered; reducing the size of government; reducing the cost of government; decreasing legislative and regulatory burdens on the people and business … what’s not to like about this legislation?
After that, the next step would be to suggest that Washington D.C. follow the state’s example … but that’s a post for another day!
Casada, Johnson propose ‘repealer’ to cut state laws by Chas Sisk @ The Tennessean;