Missouri bill would adopt federal ‘One In, Two Out’ regulation rule


There are more than 113,000 different regulations imposed by Missouri on state businesses and citizens and that is far, far too many, according to Rep. Alex Riley, R-Springfield.

The freshman lawmaker elected in November to the General Assembly has filed a bill he says is not a “silver bullet” but can whittle away some unnecessary and needlessly complicated regulations now on the books.

House Bill 576 would require Missouri adopt a “One In, Two Out” rule for any new state regulations similar to the rule imposed on federal agencies in a February 2017 executive order by President Donald Trump.

As with Trump’s Executive Order 13771, HB 576 would require state agencies to identify two regulations to be eliminated for every one new regulation they propose.

“The benefits of this legislation are numerous,” Riley said in a statement. “It serves to deter state agencies from enacting new regulations because it will force them to first find two others to cut – something many bureaucrats will not want to spend time doing.”

Forcing state agencies, departments and commissions to repeal two existing rules before enacting a new one would particularly benefit small businesses, Riley told the Missouri Times.

“As of 2017, Missouri had over 113,000 different regulations imposed on the businesses and citizens of the state,“ he said, calling himself, “a business defense attorney by trade.”

Over the years, Riley said, “I’ve noticed business owners frequently feel the need to come to attorneys to figure out all the rules and regulations and the hoops they have to jump through in order to operate their business. Corporations have the resources to hire throngs of attorneys to go through these thousands and thousands of pages of rules, but small businesses don’t have that luxury.”

He was motivated to file HB 576 by the Ohio Legislature’s adoption of a bill trimming business regulations in early December.

“Ohio has an even higher regulatory burden than Missouri does and what they’re trying to do is figure out how to make their state more competitive economically and boost economic growth,” Riley said. “They identified this regulatory burden as one of the biggest things holding their state back. They’ve enacted a similar process there and have seen some good economic results, so I expect to see something similar in Missouri if this were to pass.”

HB 576 is one of three bills pre-filed by Riley in anticipation of the 2021 legislative session that begins Jan. 6 in Jefferson City.

HB 577 seeks to repeal a section of the state’s “collateral source” rule by prohibiting plaintiffs in personal injury cases to claim damages at trial they did not actually sustain.

“Unfortunately, Missouri’s judicial system has long had a terrible reputation due to lawsuit abuse – particularly lawsuits against our businesses and job creators,” Riley said in a statement. “This reputation has had an adverse impact on Missouri’s economic climate and harmed our ability to attract new jobs to the state. This legislation is designed to remedy some of those lawsuit abuses while also ensuring plaintiffs can be justly compensated for their injuries.”

Riley’s HB 575 would establish the ‘Missouri Religious Freedom Protection Act,’ prohibiting any Missouri government official from issuing an order limiting or forbidding the holding of religious gatherings or services.

“Over the past year, we have seen government officials around the state and nation exercise powers that none of us could have imagined just a few short months ago,” Riley said. “While I do not doubt that most have acted with the best of intentions, there have been egregious abuses of power.”

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