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Steve Winter
State Representative District 3

August 20, 2011
"Regulating the regulators"

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).


"The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates." 
- Tacitus 

My friend and fellow colleague, John Willse, wrote a column last week that put the light on the excessive federal regulations on business enterprises. He quoted Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot who said, "Home Depot would never have succeeded if we’d tried to start it today. Every day you see rules and regulations from Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business."

Mr. Willse then went on to ask, "Who regulates the regulators?" It appears that, in Washington at least, the answer is "Nobody."

Fortunately in New Hampshire, two standing committees are established for this purpose: The Executive Departments and Administration Committee (ED&A) and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR). I am a member of both of those committees. These two committees regulate the regulators. While a number of the regulations are created in legislation, far more are created in the rule making process by the state agencies.

The JLCAR Committee is made up of both Senators and Representatives and it approves or disapproves the rules created by the various state agencies when they implement and expand upon the laws passed by the legislature. These rules must conform to the intent of the legislators with regard to qualifications, fees, procedures for compliance, forms, etc. Since these rules, when approved, carry the full force of law, the joint committee assures that the agencies do not go beyond the specific intent of the legislature to where the agency itself is creating law. The creation of law is the sole responsibility of the elected and accountable legislature.

The ED&A Committee is another committee that monitors the state agencies but from a different perspective. It is this committee that crafts many of the laws that the state agencies ultimately implement. It is no secret that New Hampshire is one of the most regulated states in the country. This does not mesh well with our Live Free or Die motto.

This year we have been on a mission to reduce regulations that currently exist in regard to licensing, codes (such as building or fire codes), and rules. We want to free up businesses in this state to operate with as little regulation as is prudent. We have also been looking into the need for the licensing of various professions. Many of the professions we hear from have professional organizations and certification from their professional group could easily be as valuable as a state license.

One example is the licensing of hairdressers. In order to be licensed, hairdressers must complete 1500 hours of training. That’s insane. I didn’t need that much training to become a Navy carrier-qualified pilot. Many of us on the committee feel that such a burdensome regulation is restraint of trade. The issuance of fewer licenses means more business for those who are licensed.

In order to be more open and welcoming to small businesses who want to start up in this state, we need to reduce our unnecessary regulatory obstacles.

Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire 

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319


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