Wash. governor sets year-long moratorium on new state regulations

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire yesterday signed an executive order suspending the state’s rulemaking process to allow local governments and small businesses to focus their limited resources on continuing the state’s economic recovery. The new order requires a moratorium on new rules and regulations through December 31, 2011.

This rulemaking suspension marks the second time in as many months that a governor has suspended all executive rulemaking in their state. In October, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue issued a similar order telling her cabinet that all plans for new regulations be suspended unless “absolutely necessary.”

Gov. Gregoire said her Office of Financial Management would identify circumstances where federal or state laws, court orders compel rulemaking, or instances where they are necessary to avoid budget shortfalls. The impetus behind the suspension, the governor said, is to allow entrepreneurs to spend more time on their small businesses and for local governments to focus on their citizens’ needs.

“We want businesses to create jobs,” Gov. Gregoire said in a statement. “The time and effort small business owners would put into meeting new requirements would be better spent in improving their bottom line, and adding new employees.”

She continued, saying, “And we want our partners in cities and counties to serve their communities as efficiently as possible.”

In both instances, each governor has made caveats for reasons of public health, safety and welfare risks. In North Carolina, Gov. Perdue set up a website intended to allow citizens to voice support or criticism for rules and regulations they believed burdensome or irrelevant.