In announcing the State Chamber's legislative agenda this year,
its CEO Richard P. Rush said the focus will be on growing existing
companies in Oklahoma. That is an important factor to the state's
economy, and sometimes is overlooked in the push to bring new
industry to the state.
It seems to me in our zeal to attract new businesses, we may act
or fail to act in such a manner that is detrimental to keeping those
enterprises with longstanding and sometimes substantial investments
here in Oklahoma. A current Oklahoma City controversy comes quickly
Another key issue Rush raised is the concern of all business
enterprises in the regulatory environment in which they must
He noted that "Rules and regulations of state agencies are a
major point in getting businesses to stay in Oklahoma, and the
nation as well."
There is no doubt about this. The proliferation of rules and
regulations in the past decade by more than 150 agencies, boards and
commissions may well be more onerous to business than laws passed by
It is in session only four months of the year and enacts 300 to
400 new laws annually. Rulemaking by agencies, boards and
commissions is essentially a legislative activity that goes on
throughout the year.
Oklahoma's constitution authorizes the Legislature to grant state
agencies rulemaking authority. This is necessary to allow government
Fortunately through the Administrative Procedures Act, the
Legislature and governor have retained important oversight and
review powers of agency rulemaking.
They are required to give notice of rulemaking intent in the
Oklahoma Register, which is published on the first and 15th of each
month by the secretary of state's office. It includes text of the
proposed rule, its purpose and intent, along with an impact
statement. It advises of the time and place for public comment and
time and place for hearing.
A person needs only to look at the hundreds of proposed and
promulgated rules each month to realize the enormity of the problem
in trying to know and follow all of them.
Many rules fall through the cracks regardless of restraints in
the Administrative Procedures Act. While all policy rules must be
approved by the Legislature and the governor, it takes a definite
act of the Legislature and the governor to disapprove any given one.
Unless it is particularly controversial, or raises the ire of some
influential legislator or group, no action will be taken and it will
There virtually is no facet of any business, no matter how small
or large that is not impacted by one or more agencies' rules and
Rules and regulations promulgated by state agencies each year
have literally become a body of law unto themselves, with many
having the full force and effect of law. Most of them are
promulgated with far less public light and knowledge than the laws
that are passed.
SB 948 -- Help for small business
Complying with these regulations costs businesses millions of
dollars annually. Millions more are paid each year to the agencies
in fees supposedly to defray the cost of enforcement.
As general tax revenue funds become tighter, the Legislature has
turned to allowing agencies to use fees or assessments to fund their
general operations. They are in effect diverted from the specified
purposes for which they were levied. …