Notice & Comment

Regulatory Policy/Rulemaking: President Issues Memorandum on Reducing Regulatory Burdens for State and Local Governments, by Jonathan Rusch

On February 28, President Obama issued a memorandum to federal executive departments and agencies, directing them (as summarized in a White House press release) “to work with State, Tribal, and local governments to reduce unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens in order to focus resources on achieving better outcomes at lower cost.” According to the release, the memorandum builds on Executive Order 13563, which the President issued on January 18 to outline his regulatory strategy. (See the January 18 Notice and Comment posting on Executive Order 13563.)

The Memorandum instructs the Director of OMB “to lead a collaborative process of Federal agencies, State, Tribal, and local governments to coordinate and streamline procedures that cut across agency, program and geographic bounds,” and requires agencies “to work closely with States, Tribes, and local governments to identify administrative, regulatory, and legislative barriers in Federally-funded programs that currently prevent them from efficiently using tax dollars to achieve the best results for their constituents.” It further requires that this work be done “in collaboration with territories as well, and with input from other key program partners.”

The Memorandum also directs OMB to (1) review “guidance concerning cost principles and audits for State, local, and Tribal governments to eliminate unnecessary, unduly burdensome, or low-priority recordkeeping requirements and to tie requirements to achievement of outcomes;” (2) “[s]tandardize and streamline reporting and planning requirements in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act to develop efficient, low-cost mechanisms for collecting and reporting data and preparing expenditure plans that can support multiple programs and agencies”: and (3) “[f]acilitate cost-efficient modernization of State and Tribal information systems, in collaboration with the Chief Technology Officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.”

The Memorandum also requires agencies “to report back within 180 days of the date of this memorandum on their actions to identify regulatory and administrative requirements that can be streamlined, reduced, or eliminated, and where increased State flexibility could be provided to achieve the same or better outcomes at lower cost.”

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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