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AG Derek Schmidt urges congressional leaders to rein in unelected bureaucracy

Release Date: Oct 12, 2017

TOPEKA – (October 12, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has joined with 12 other state attorneys general in urging congressional leaders to curb the authority of federal executive branch agencies to create and enforce regulations.

In a letter sent today to bipartisan congressional leaders of the U.S. Senate, the attorneys general urge passage of the “Regulatory Accountability Act” legislation that would amend the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), a statute that sets the requirements for lawful executive agency action.

“This legislation sets more meaningful limits on executive branch agencies and amplifies the public’s voice in the regulatory process,” Schmidt said. “The Constitution provides for three branches of government, not four: Unelected administrative agencies are not supposed to be a whole separate source of lawmaking power.”

In the letter, the attorneys general note that Obama-era executive overreach shows that existing congressional, judicial and other structural checks on the regulatory state have proven inadequate. Of specific concern is the increasing trend among agencies to make binding rules through so-called guidance documents. This abuse utilizes a mechanism, meant for non-binding advice, to attempt to implement binding regulations and sanctions, while avoiding the notice and comment period required by the existing APA. Additionally, federal agencies are acting outside the bounds of their authority through failure to consider existing state law or the costs of regulation. The growing administrative state has resulted in a vast, unelected bureaucracy that is largely unaccountable to the citizens.

The states joining Kansas in sending this letter are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter can be found at http://bit.ly/2kJZZnA.  

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