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Idaho Repeals Its Regulatory Code

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James Broughel

May 7 2019

Something rather remarkable just happened in Idaho. The state legislature opted to—in essence—repeal the entire state regulatory code. The cause may have been dysfunction across legislative chambers, but the result is serendipitous. A new governor is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to repeal an outdated and burdensome regulatory code and replace it with a more streamlined and sensible set of rules. Other states should be paying close attention.










Last one to Coeur D Alene is a rotten egg!

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Esto brevis: How Idaho accidentally let all of its regulations expire.

Madeline Fry

May 18, 2019

It’s not often that government ineptitude fuels progress. But Idaho can thank its bickering state legislature for providing it with a revolutionary opportunity.

Since the state House and Senate couldn’t pass a bill to renew the 8,200 pages of state regulations, the rules are all set to expire on July 1. Republican Gov. Brad Little can maintain the essential regulations until the legislature returns in January, but the default will now be less regulation rather than more.

According to data from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, it would take nearly seven weeks to read all 5 million words of Idaho’s regulations. The administrator of the Idaho Division of Financial Management, Alex Adams, has less than that seven weeks to decide which rules to keep, so some erroneous regulations may have to be maintained for the sake of simplicity.


“One of the reasons why regulatory reform is on everyone’s radar is we’ve seen kind of a slowing of economic growth in the last couple of decades,” Broughel said. “There’s only so much you can cut taxes to try to boost growth, but regulation is really the elephant in the room. There’s a lot of evidence that regulation slows economic growth. This is actually low-hanging fruit.”

Time will tell whether Idaho lives up to its deregulatory potential. The state motto is "Esto Perpetua," Latin for “Be forever.” That's a noble appeal for the state itself, but not so much for its regulations.

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