Ohio's Agencies Ordered to Trim 'Unnecessary' Rules

State cabinet agencies in Ohio are bound by a new "Common Sense Business Regulation" executive order signed Feb. 12 by Gov. Ted Strickland that requires some to designate an agency regulatory ombudsman and all to review their rules and amend or rescind rules found to be unnecessary, to unnecessarily impede economic growth, or to have had unintended negative consequences.

The order, effective immediately until the end of Strickland's term of office, explicitly directs the Industrial Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to designate ombudsmen, if they have not already done so. These two agencies administer the state's comp system, with BWC (www.ohiobwc.com) collecting workers' compensation insurance premiums, overseeing the insurance system, and paying out compensable claims. The IC (www.ohioic.com) steps in when a BWC claim is disputed.

"Regulations for conducting business in Ohio exist to promote health, safety, and economic vitality," Strickland said Feb. 12. "A transparent, common sense approach to our state regulatory process will help us keep good-paying jobs in Ohio and make Ohio a more attractive place to bring the jobs of the future. We must act as partners to ensure Ohio's regulatory environment is flexible, respectful, and responsive to Ohio's citizens and the people who do business in our state. State agencies will be guided by the principle that the individuals and businesses they regulate are customers, and they will be held accountable for the quality of customer service they provide."

Hise order also outlines the approach cabinet agencies will use before submitting proposed rules to the Joint Committee on Agency Review: They'll focus on outcomes when designing or modifying a set of rules, draft rules that are easy to understand and not duplicative, and draft rules so they promote transparency, predictability, consistency, flexibility, and balance in regulatory activity.

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