Idaho cuts and simplifies 75 percent of rules in one year, becomes least-regulated state in country

Governor Brad Little joined members of the Idaho Legislature in announcing today that Idaho surpassed South Dakota in becoming the least-regulated state in the country by cutting and simplifying 75 percent of regulatory rules in one year.

“Idaho’s conservative approach to governing has truly transformed the state’s administrative code into a set of regulations that are streamlined and easier for citizens and businesses to navigate,” Governor Little said. “When we reduce the friction on entrepreneurs and businesses, good-paying jobs follow. I appreciate the support of the Legislature and the agencies within my administration for helping me achieve the largest regulatory cuts in Idaho history.”

Since Governor Little took office in January, he worked with the Idaho Legislature and agencies within his administration to eliminate 1,804 pages of the administrative code. For every chapter added, 83 chapters were cut.

President Donald Trump has taken on regulatory reform to reduce and streamline federal regulations, an initiative led by Vice President Mike Pence. The White House is turning to the states for ways to achieve reform, and Idaho is being held up as the shining example of how to get it done.

“Congratulations to Governor Brad Little and the State of Idaho for cutting and simplifying an astounding 75 percent of their administrative code. Since taking office, President Donald J. Trump has led historic deregulation efforts to roll back red tape that burdened Americans and stifled economic growth at the Federal level, OMB Acting Director Russ Vought said. “Under President Trump, we have cut seven and a half regulations for every new rule, far exceeding our promise to cut two regulations for every new one. American households have saved an estimated $3,100 each year as a direct result of President’s historic deregulation efforts.” 

“On October 21, the Trump Administration announced a Governors’ Initiative on Regulatory Innovation to extend the President’s historic regulatory reform to State and local levels creating an environment for more and more Idahoans to move from poverty to prosperity. We are proud to report Governor Little is a champion of this effort and look forward to his partnership and leadership on protecting Americans from overregulation and administrative abuse. Under the President’s and Governor Little’s leadership, regulatory reform efforts have resulted in some of the lowest poverty numbers on record for our most forgotten Americans – forgotten no more,” Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives Brooke Rollins said.

Idaho’s historic regulatory cuts were achieved through two executive orders Governor Little issued in his first month as Governor earlier this year as well as through the “rules reauthorization process,” under which Idaho’s administrative code expires if it is not reauthorized. Governor Little’s Red Tape Reduction Act requires all state agencies that have authority to issue administrative rules to identify at least two existing rules to be repealed or significantly simplified for every one rule they propose. In addition, Governor Little’s Licensing Freedom Act reduces burdens on Idaho businesses by scaling back, eliminating, or significantly simplifying Idaho’s occupational licensing rules. 

“Other states and the federal government are paying attention to what’s happening in Idaho,” Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill said. “Idaho is leading the rest of the country yet again. We are showing other states and the federal government that meaningful regulatory reform can happen when elected leaders in the executive and legislative branches can work together in an open, transparent process and drive change.” 

“Our efforts to closely examine our laws started collaboratively and will continue collaboratively. Together we created a good process, and the Legislature is committed to continuing to work with Governor Little and his administration to make it a cyclical practice,” House Speaker Scott Bedke said.

All proposed changes were vetted through the required public participation processes agencies must follow under Idaho law. The Legislature is expected to approve the changes during the 2020 legislative session.

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