Bravely Confronting the Commercial Transport of Companion Animals

We’re beginning to see results from Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s “Government & Regulatory Reform Task Force”. The task force has issued 63 recommendations in the realms of agriculture, health care and small business. While the effort is noble in intent, the fruits of the task force’s labor are less than breathtaking. Indeed, most recommendations are so obscure that my reaction is: If that’s all they’ve come up with so far, state regulations really may not be a problem.

According to a press release, McDonnell directed the Task Force “to move forward with work to codify public participation guidelines for state agencies in an effort to increase the public’s opportunity for input. He also endorsed a proposal to simplify the manner by which small and minority-owned businesses are registered with the state.”

Nothing objectionable there, but nothing to quicken the pulse either.

You can access the recommendations on the AG’s website. Here’s the kind of stuff you’ll find:

  • Remove regulations in VDACS, Chapter 150 which governs the commercial transport of companion animals that are redundant with other sections of the Chapter. Recommend deleting Sections 120, 130, 140, 150, 160 and 170.
  • Update citations in the state code. A section pertaining to the Board of Opticians refers to the Department of Labor and Industry, “Division of Apprenticeship Training.” The proper name is “Division of Registered Apprenticeship.”
  • In 12VAC30-100-150, update the referenced methodology of the “Virginia Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program” to “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)”.

It’s just dandy that someone is going through the state code with such a fine eye to detail. It can’t hurt (unless someone’s brain explodes from reading all the fine print.) But let’s be honest: This is not shaping up as the kind of “reinventing government” initiative that will significantly reduce spending or relieve the regulatory burden on the private sector.

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5 responses to “Bravely Confronting the Commercial Transport of Companion Animals”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Well, how about we just put a sunset clause on everything? If it isn’t important enough to re-pass every fifteen years, then let it expire.

    That will keep the lawmakers employed, and keep them from doing any more damage.

    We could have fundamental change by default. And, when the special interests catch on, they will have a field day introducing their favored amendments to the new old laws.

  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    gee… no mention of electric power reform….

    or… PPTA reform….

    or… laws to deal with situations like the Dulles Toll Road operation

    or how about reform of the code to allow zoning to better support mixed-use developments…

    or .. here’s one.. how about the JLARC and Va Auditor recommendations for Transportation and VDOT.

    so.. if this Demonstrates his mettle for the job.. he fails..

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Larry, In fairness to McDonnell, I don’t think those bigger issues (which, I agree are far, far more important) fall under the purview of the regulatory task force. The goal of his group was not to propose new legisation but to prune unnecessary government regulation.

    But if this is the best the task force can come up with, I think we can all safely conclude that excessive regulatory zeal by the executive branch of Virginia is not a significant problem. The problem is the laws, or lack of them, or they way they are structured.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    In my experience, Va. agencies just don’t go hog wild with regulations. The notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Process Act, DPB review and economic impact analysis and gubernatorial review have a moderating affect and serve to ensure that public comment is heeded.

    The vast majority of state regulations are required by state or federal law, and the regulatory process itself (about 2 years in duration in most cases) mean that agencies promulgate only when absolutely necessary. In most cases, public comment takes exception to the statute requiring the regulation in the first place — a matter that’s beyond the control of the agency.

    It’s common to talk about regulations gone wild and how they’re strangling business, but it’s rare to see a General Assembly session when some group or another isn’t championing legislation to require regulation of their group or profession.

    Then there are the cases in which regulations respond to public outrage. Fire in a nursing home? Why don’t regulations require evacation plans and sprinkler systems? Daycare center with 25 toddlers for each employee crammed into a small space? Someone needs to do something! We bought a home built on shrink-swell soil and nobody disclosed the fact or required testing! How can this happen!?

    Regulatory reform is a popular cause and reform commissions crop up with every other administration. But once you get down into the weeds and start reviewing the regulations themselves, you find that the vast majority are required by state statute or the feds. What’s left were promulgated to respond to fraud and abuse or to answer policy questions from the regulated community itself.


  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “the Attorney General noted, “A republican form of government requires proper and plentiful opportunities for public input. Government officials must seek out, and take under consideration, the viewpoints of their constituents.”

    ummmm now .. tell me again what the purpose of hearing from the public is and why it is important?

    Does he mean ACTUALLY listening to the folks who have wondered why the state does not encourage Dominion to institute common-sense conservation policies?

    .. or

    how about the folks who worry and wonder about how agencies like VDOT do business even after JLARC has suggested reforms.. simple ones like re-doing their districts to better match other planning districts?

    or those who wonder how in the heck can an Airport Authority impose it’s ideas on a region.. without a vote…

    Obviously the AG is wanting for the public to consider his fitness for Gov… right?

    .. so Mr. AG…. let’s get out in front with a real vision for Virginians and less of the pro-business .. talk-the-talk.. for sure… but .. actually walk-the-walk… lets be more “conservative” with the actual walk-the-walk, we would not want to rock the moribund institutional boats that would fund our campaign.. right?

    I don’t care if he wants to look pretty to voters.. but let’s not confuse pretty with effective…

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