Thursday, January 6, 2011

Scott's order freezing regulations draws heat

From John Kennedy of the News Service of Florida on Jan. 6:
TALLAHASSEE | With Gov. Rick Scott freezing agency regulations and ordering checks on the immigration status of state workers, the wide-ranging effect of his opening-day political statements was still being gauged Wednesday.

Some lawmakers and lobbyists praised Scott's action -- enshrined in four executive orders the new governor signed an hour after his swearing-in. Others dismissed his first moves as merely bolstering current policies -- noting most government workers already are U.S. citizens and that lawmakers in November gave themselves more authority over agency rulemaking.

But some also raised alarms -- saying Scott's orders bring further uncertainty to a state government where a host of consumer safety and health standards are routinely met through rules and regulations.

"I don't want to use the word disappointed, but I wish Gov. Scott had consulted the Department of Health before he signed the executive order, understanding the effect it may have on the Legislature's attempts to crack down on pill mills," said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

New regulations on pain clinics have been in limbo since the Legislature this fall overrode former Gov. Charlie Crist's veto and required lawmakers to review rules that carry a high price-tag for businesses. Law enforcement officials say clinics frequently dispense prescription drugs with little oversight to addicted patients, and have lobbied for stricter standards.

"We're going to fully freeze rulemaking in this state, we're going to evaluate the necessity of all rules and regulations," Scott said in signing the orders Tuesday in his office.


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