Key Points
  • Regulations should always be simple and transparent, focusing on the particular issue and should not become an opportunity to provide favoritism to particular special interests.
  • Regulations should not be based on speculation, anecdotes, statistical correlation and nonreplicable or non-independent studies. Instead, a science-based approach that involves credible cost-benefit analysis, publicly-available data and scientifically validated data should be part of any state risk assessment.
  • Legislative oversight and democratic accountability are critical components of sound regulatory systems.

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said that “the sum of good government” was one “which shall restrain men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry.” Sadly, governments – both federal and state – have ignored this axiom and continue to rapidly expand the already immense regulatory state.

Virtually every facet of our lives is somehow touched by government regulations. The food we eat, cars we drive, places we work, even the mattresses we sleep on every night are regulated, in some way, by federal and state governments. According to an estimate by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, regulatory compliance costs and economic impacts total $1.863 trillion annually, equal to a roughly $15,000 “hidden tax” per U.S. household. Americans spend more on this “tax” than any other expense except for housing.

Research from the Mercatus Center finds that total federal regulatory restrictions have increased by nearly 170 percent since 1970, to more than 1 million. It would take a person more than 3 years to read the Code of Federal Regulations if it was their full-time job. The slower economic growth associated with regulatory accumulation resulted in an economy that was $4 trillion smaller in 2012 than it could have been had regulation been held at 1980 levels. Meanwhile, states have added restrictions to the total, ranging from just over 63,000 in Arizona to more than 307,000 in New York.

This is not to say that all regulations are bad and should be done away with entirely. Obviously, there is a role for governments to play in ensuring the air and water we breathe and drink is clean, food and medication we consume are safe and the places we work don’t pose significant threats to our health and safety. That said, regulations should be transparent, fair, and impose minimal financial burdens on businesses and families.

Publications

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Model Policies

  • Advanced Voice Services Availability Act of 2007 Final

    Advanced Voice Services Availability Act of 2007 Summary The purpose of this legislation is to promote the availability of competitive advanced voice services, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, to all consumers and businesses in [state] by establishing a common-sense regulatory framework that promotes choice and competition.

  • Vehicle Platooning for Safety and Efficiency Act Final

    Section 1.  (Legislative Declarations) Subdivision 1.  A vehicle platooning system electronically coordinates the speed between a lead vehicle and one or more follow vehicles, enabling them to travel safely in a unified manner at close following distances.  A vehicle platooning system relies on a connected and automated braking system, which …

  • Resolution Supporting Pro Consumer Public Policy for Voice, Video, and Data Services Final

    Resolution Supporting Pro Consumer Public Policy for Voice, Video, and Data Services Summary This Resolution offers support for minimal federal, state, and local regulation of broadband networks, specifically regarding voice, video and data services. The Resolution recognizes that government, through regulation, tends to get in the way …

  • A Resolution Opposing Government Intervention in the Multichannel Video Programming Distribution Marketplace Through A La Carte or Tiering Requirements Final

    A Resolution Opposing Government Intervention in the Multichannel Video Programming Distribution Marketplace Through A La Carte or Tiering Requirements WHEREAS, it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty, and WHEREAS, ALEC …

  • Resolution Concerning the Stream Protection Rule Final

    WHEREAS, the state of {state} supports reasonable, practicable and sensible efforts to improve stream protection; and WHEREAS, under existing rules, 90 percent of all coal mines have no offsite impacts—and in many states 100 percent of the operations are free of any offsite impacts—according to the Department of …

  • Resolution Concerning the Combined Impacts of Future EPA Regulations for Coal-Fired Power Plants Final

    WHEREAS, the United States is blessed with abundant energy resources; and WHEREAS, it is in our national interests to have a diverse and balanced energy mix that takes full advantage of all of our energy resources; and WHEREAS, a reliable and affordable electricity supply is vital to economic …

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Task Forces

Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development

Members of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force believe that economic freedom is the cornerstone of prosperity. The …

Energy, Environment and Agriculture

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force operates under the principles of free-market environmentalism, that is to promote the mutually …

Communications and Technology

With nearly 200 members representing all parts of the country and every segment of industry, the Communications and Technology Task …

Press Releases

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