Rep. Harrison Files More Bills to Reign in Bureaucratic Power & Administrative State


"We also must reset the balance of power between regulators and the Texans they regulate by stopping the courts from showing favoritism to bureaucrats in court.”
 
AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — “Unelected bureaucrats both writing and enforcing laws is the biggest threat to our constitutional system of divided government, and we must shift power back to the people’s elected representatives. We must also reset the balance of power between regulators and the Texans they regulate by stopping the courts from showing favoritism to bureaucrats in court,” said State Representative Brian Harrison while introducing House Bills 1947 and 1948 to reign in the power of unelected bureaucrats.
  HB 1947 ends the practice of “Chevron deference” in Texas courts. Currently, courts defer to an agency’s interpretation of a law or regulation, instead of relying on the plain language of the text or previous court decisions. In court, the judge should be no respecter of persons. Unfortunately, the scale is currently tipped heavily in favor of the government and against the citizens. HB 1947 changes that and ensures that judges will weigh the law and evidence in a fair and just manner.

HB 1948 strengthens an action taken by Governor Abbott in 2018 to require state agencies to submit proposed rules to him before making them available for public comment, based upon what he saw as “the success of regulatory review at the federal level.” The bill further empowers the Governor by requiring that no regulation under his control can be enacted without his consent.

HB 1948 is similar to an initiative Rep. Harrison spearheaded as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the largest regulatory agency on earth, which required all department legislative rules be issued and signed only by the Secretary. Prior to this requirement, mid-level bureaucrats issued and signed regulations.  

Rep. Harrison has filed other bills this session to reign in the regulatory state, including HB 791 which will ensure that regulations, which create burdens and impose costs on millions of Texans and carry the force and effect of law, are reviewed regularly to determine if they are still beneficial. These reviews are already required every four years under Texas Government Code Section 2001.039.

By requiring that the rule expire if not reviewed, HB 791 protects the public from unnecessary regulations.

Representative Harrison, as HHS Chief of Staff, created and finalized the HHS SUNSET Rule, the most historic deregulatory action in the history of the federal government, which effectively put sunset provisions into nearly 20,000 federal regulations.

He has also filed HB 807 which returns the sole power to require vaccines for school attendance back to the legislature and away from unelected bureaucrats.

Key Provisions:

HB 1947:
  • Reviewing judges (both trial judges and appellate judges), when interpreting a provision of state law, are required to interpret the meaning and effect of the provisions without deference to a state agency’s interpretation of said provision.
  • Administrative law judges, when conducting a hearing that requires the judge to interpret a provision of state law, are required to interpret the meaning and effect of the provision without deference to a state agency’s interpretation of the provision.
  • After interpreting a provision of state law, the judge must resolve the ambiguity in favor of limiting the state agency’s authority.
HB 1948:
  • All proposed rules from an agency in the executive branch of government must have its rule reviewed and approved by the governor or other elected official in charge of the agency.
  • An agency can put forth an emergency rule when needed, but the governor or other elected official in charge of the agency must approve the rule in no more than ten days.
  • If the governor or other elected official does not approve the emergency rule, the rule may not be renewed and the same rule may not be adopted again by the agency.
 

















 
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