The second year of every session is often known, not only as the session when the bonding bill gets passed but also when policy bills are worked on and discussed. Policy generally includes some type of regulation. We are interested in lessening the regulatory burden which has come about as a result of the growth of government because it is a hidden cost of government and one that has negative effects along with whatever the benefits that they were intended to have.
Something fairly remarkable happened in the House a few weeks ago. A regulatory bill did not pass. HF 1415 was an attempt to create a legal framework for fantasy sports. It was a combination of DFL and GOP members that brought down the bill. Here is Chair Steve Drazkowski speech against it:
Bookending that regulatory bill was another bill that did pass last week. At first glance, this looks like consumer protection legislation, but on second glance, it’s potentially burdensome legislation.
The “Safe Seniors Act,” HF3833 would allow broker-dealers and investment advisors to report suspected financial exploitation to the Department of Commerce or the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center. This would give law enforcement the opportunity to freeze any related accounts to prevent financial injury. It would also provide legal immunity to anyone who discloses the information to governmental agencies or in court proceedings. It applies to people age 65 and older, or anyone defined by statute as a “vulnerable adult.”
This ability to freeze someone’s money could have unintended negative consequences. It also may make sense in the management of funds for a vulnerable person, but for people aged 65 and above, their abilities may not be in any way impaired.
As mentioned previously, the bill did pass but not unanimously so clearly some members were concerned about these possibilities.
There are a number of Boards asking for reregulation and fee increases—something which goes in the opposite direction of deregulation and lessening the burden of professional licensing.
Looking at these items through a partisan lens, the DFL usually supports more regulation, but when it’s posed as fencing (pro-business, at least a SOME businesses), they tend to reject it. Republicans more often tend to get hooked by lobbyists who bring them bills claiming that business wants it and it protects consumers or will save the state money on court action or other ill effects they wind up paying for, so it’s posed as a win-win.
We believe that restraining the marketplace is usually not a good idea or needs some real benefit to balance the costs. Somebody is losing out, whether it’s an opportunity cost or a barrier to entry. It may result in lost jobs, lost time, lost growth. Seemingly low-cost regulation legislation may actually be paid for by somebody else which won’t end up in a fiscal note.