By DAN SMALLWOOD
Capital News Service
LANSING – Workers and union groups will be part of three committees asked to review state regulations for the new Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department, along with business and industry interests, according to Deputy Director Rob Nederhood.
While groups have not yet been selected for the department’s planned overhaul of those regulations, Nederhood said several dozen applications have been submitted for positions on these committees within the Office of Regulatory Reinvention.
The office will review regulations to assess whether they are outdated, inefficient or otherwise impede business as part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s efforts to restructure the business environment in Michigan.
The three committees will review workplace safety, environmental protection, and insurance and finance regulations.
Plans for the review process include participation by the agencies that enforce those regulations, as well as consumer and business groups whose members would be affected by changes.
Nederhood said that targets for restructuring include some worker safety-related regulations. He mentioned the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the state version of the federal OSHA, as one instance where state and federal regulations overlap.
“In the past few years, the feds have changed the rules,” Nederhood said. “Michigan hasn’t really kept up with that. It’s important that the rules that are meant to mirror federal rules actually do.”
Nederhood stressed that those affected by changes to the regulations will be consulted.
Changes proposed by the committees must be approved by the governor and the Legislature and cannot be implemented by the department itself, Nederhood said.
“Nothing will be changed overnight,” he said.
To ensure a wide range of viewpoints, Nederhood said the department may actively seek out viewpoints not represented on the committees.
“I’m envisioning a more proactive phase,” he said. “The best way to prevent one voice from being too loud is to seek out a wide variety of sources.”
© 2011, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.