AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a West Virginia-led coalition of 13 state attorneys general in a letter exhorting Congress to curb the authority of federal agencies to arbitrarily create regulations.
The coalition asked U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to press for passage of the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a statute establishing the requirements for lawful executive agency action.
“Eight years of federal government overreach and disregard for the rule of law during the Obama-era created an environment of regulatory uncertainty and fostered burdensome regulations that hurt the economy,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Passing the Regulatory Accountability Act will introduce more regulatory stability and produce smarter and more efficient rulemaking, which will ultimately reduce costs, create jobs, and grow the economy.”
One important issue with current regulatory action highlighted in the letter is the increasing trend among agencies to make binding rules through so-called guidance documents. Such an abuse uses a mechanism to trying to implement binding regulations and sanctions, while avoiding the notice and comment period required by the existing APA. Federal agencies also are acting outside the bounds of their authority through failure to consider existing state law or the costs of regulation.
Texas and West Virginia are joined on the letter by the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin.