SB 3 Testimony Reveals Role of CSI in Rule Making Process Still Unclear

Earlier this week, Dan Navin, VP of Tax and Economic Policy at the Ohio Chamber, testified in support of Senate Bill 3, which looks to require sending “no change” rules to the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to ensure that those rules undergo a Business Impact Analysis. A “no change” rule is a rule that has undergone a five-year review to see if it should be amended or eliminated by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). All newly proposed rules are sent to the CSI by JCARR to undergo Business Impact Analysis, but we leave a regulatory oversight gap by excluding “no change” rules, some of which have been on the books for decades and thus have never been examined in relation to the business impact. While sending “no change” rules to CSI makes sense, the role CSI plays in the rule review process with JCARR remains unclear to businesses, legislators, and the public.

The CSI is a Kasich administration initiative created by the General Assembly in 2011 to help create a more business-friendly regulatory atmosphere in Ohio. CSI aims to make compliance with state regulations for businesses as easy and inexpensive as possible by reviewing proposed rules to make sure they do not negatively impact business. In regard to legislative rule review, proposed rules are submitted to CSI to undergo Business Impact Analysis and then CSI informs the agency whether it has recommendations to change the rule after the analysis. The next step is simple—the agency has to let CSI know they have seen their recommendations, if there are any, before filing the rule with JCARR. In sum, CSI provides independent economic evaluation of rules for agencies to utilize during the rulemaking process.

Once we work through the purpose of CSI and working relationship it has with JCARR, we can see that including “no change” rules is a hole we want to fill to ensure all rules on the books make economic sense in Ohio. Given the outstanding job of the CSI in reviewing proposed rules and scrutinizing the business impact of newly proposed rules, we hope legislators will see the benefit of applying the same requirement to “no change” rules.