Occasionally, politicians come up with good ideas.
Usually, they merely find unworkable solutions to problems that either didn’t exist or already were solved.
However, in the 1970s, the Florida Legislature decided that there were too many laws and regulations.
So they devised a “sunset” law, which required laws to be repealed after a certain period of time unless they could be justified.
Hearings were held as the laws and regulations expired.
One of the first was over the laws concerning the practice of cosmetology. I attended the hearing in Tallahassee. Hundreds of people filled the hearing room. They vociferously protested removing the regulations – and they were the ones being regulated.
It may seem counter-intuitive that people would want politicians and bureaucrats telling them what they could and could not do.
But they truth is, most regulated industries welcome regulations. They are a barrier to competition.
Politicians buckled and the regulations on cosmetology continued — along with the higher prices that reduced competition brings.
I don’t remember how many laws and regulations were repealed, if any. But eventually the sunset laws disappeared.
But Gov. Ron DeSantis, to his credit, has revived the idea.
He is calling for sunset legislation to remove “unnecessary, burdensome regulations and barriers.”
Florida is one of the states bogged down with regulation. Nearly 30 percent of the workforce is in the 23 businesses requiring occupational licenses – one of the highest rates in the nation.
Does anyone really believe that if interior designers were not regulated by the state it would pose a threat to public health and welfare?
Local governments – especially those run by liberals — will argue against deregulation because it is a huge source of revenue.
In Jacksonville, licensing and permits – charging businesses for the privilege of creating jobs and wealth, and paying taxes – brings in $40 million in revenue.
During the Obama administration, the regulatory burden on Americans soared by $122 billion annually. President Trump is rolling back some of that burden, amid wails by liberals opposed to individual freedom.
During Trump’s first 32 months in office, only 121 “major” regulations (i.e., rules that impose costs of more than $100 million annually) were issued, compared to 223 under Obama and 133 under Bush.
DeSantis is bucking a trend and reviving an old idea that unwisely was allowed to wither and die.