Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wants to cut bureaucratic red tape, tackles regulatory reform

May 7, 2019

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wants to cut bureaucratic red tape, tackles regulatory reform

Arizona Republic

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has introduced two bills designed to help Arizona businesses by reducing onerous government oversight.


The bills are aimed at reforming the way the government sets regulations, or rules surrounding things like the sale of tobacco and alcohol. These regulations affect businesses in Arizona, and Sinema said she introduced the bills as part of an effort to simplify the process by which regulations are evaluated.


The legislation was discussed at a hearing held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, where Sinema, D-Ariz., sits as ranking member.


Sinema’s first bill, the Setting Manageable Analysis Requirements in Text Act, would require the federal government to plan ahead for an assessment of their regulations. These assessments would compare the actual costs and benefits of the regulations to those proposed when it was introduced.


“By requiring agencies to plan for reviews through the SMART Act, the reviews will be more thorough and accurate, and less expensive and time-consuming,” Sinema said in a statement Tuesday. “This will improve regulations, remove unnecessary burdens, and increase transparency and accessibility for Arizona businesses.”


Two former White House officials testified in support of the bill: Sally Katzen, from former Democratic President Bill Clinton’s administration, and Susan Dudley, from former Republican President George W. Bush’s.


Katzen said in her testimony that, in the government, “process is good, but too much process can be counterproductive.”


She said she believes the government should be held accountable for the claims they make and the goals they set, and that the public should have a hand in that accountability and regulation, but not so much so that it is disruptive.


“And, most importantly, each step in the process (and any new steps imposed) should be evaluated in terms of its contribution to good decision-making, to what would help produce the most sensible, effective and efficient way forward,” Katzen said Tuesday.


Dudley agreed, saying in her testimony Tuesday that the SMART Act would “offer relatively modest, yet potentially powerful, changes” to the government’s ever-evolving regulating process.


Sinema also joined the subcommittee chairman, Sen.James Lankford, R-Okla., in introducing the Prove It Act, which would give businesses a voice in the rule-making process and challenge certifications and request re-analysis before they are enacted.


“Arizona’s small businesses should have a voice in bureaucratic rule-making that could harm Arizona jobs,” Sinema said in a statement Tuesday. “The Prove It Act is a commonsense bill that helps guard against unreasonable regulations.”


Both bills will get a vote in the subcommittee in coming weeks before proceeding to the full Senate.