ND legislators pass 50 bills cutting government red tape and regulations

It’s hard to take the appointment of yet another government task force too seriously for anyone who’s been around long enough. So there may not have been high expectations for the Red Tape Reduction Working Group announced last summer, outside of Gov. Doug Burgum’s press release.

Gov. Doug Burgum today issued an executive order creating a Red Tape Reduction Working Group to bolster ongoing efforts to identify antiquated, unnecessary and burdensome regulations, rules and policies that could be changed or eliminated to reduce burdens and lower costs for North Dakota citizens and the private sector and make state government more efficient, effective and nimble.

The working group will collaborate across all cabinet agencies and participating non-cabinet agencies to review regulations, restrictions, requirements, red tape and policy that has become outdated, burdensome and inefficient.

The announcement came with the designation of a red tape reduction officer in 35 state agencies to identify unnecessary government rules and regulations that drive up costs and hamper innovation. Some 150 state boards and commissions were also invited to participate in “prioritizing innovation over regulation” in time for the 2023 legislative session.

As a result, hundreds of ideas were submitted for consideration in time for lawmakers to act during the session. As a result, 50 bills streamlining or eliminating rules and regulations landed on Burgum’s desk, according to Forum News.

One example of updating laws came from a suggestion from Department of Commerce Commissioner Josh Teigen who proposed eliminating the Business Incentive Accountability program, which was established in 2005 to govern the state’s business incentive granting process.

In his suggestion, Teigen said the “data is antiquated and not valuable,” and his department tracked metrics that weren’t included in the program.

He said in a statement that the program created “busy work for commerce staff to generate a report that was no longer valuable to stakeholders.”

There were plenty of other examples of outdated requirements that were also taken off the books.

House Bill 1040, which adds an allowance for an agency adult foster care home to be “considered a permitted use in a single-family or equivalent least-density residential zone.”

House Bill 1060, which allows for the purchase of overweight and oversize vehicle permits for a 30-day period as opposed to the current single-trip permit. Additionally, annual permits can be purchased for 365 days or to expire Dec. 31.

House Bill 1080, which allows vehicle owners to keep their registration on electronic devices, aligning with state law that allows electronic proof of insurance, as well as electronic driver’s licenses, a system that was approved in 2021 but has not gone live yet.

A good start, no doubt, but there’s plenty more of where that came from. So the Red Tape Reduction Working Group plans to get back at it soon.