The deregulatory polity that is Idaho

Something rather remarkable just happened in Idaho. The state legislature opted to—in essence—repeal the entire state regulatory code. The cause may have been dysfunction across legislative chambers, but the result is serendipitous. A new governor is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to repeal an outdated and burdensome regulatory code and replace it with a more streamlined and sensible set of rules. Other states should be paying close attention.

The situation came about due to the somewhat unconventional nature of Idaho’s regulatory process. Each year, the state’s entire existing body of regulations expires unless reauthorized for an additional year by the legislature. In most years, reauthorization happens smoothly, but not this year.

Instead, the legislature wrapped up an acrimonious session in April without passing a rule-reauthorization bill. As a result, come July 1, some 8,200 pages of regulations containing 736 chapters of state rules will expire. Any rules the governor opts to keep will have to be implemented as emergency regulations, and the legislature will consider them anew when it returns next January.

Here is more from James Broughel at Mercatus.


Isn't it pretty likely that the entire regulatory code will be implemented by emergency order?

IDK. Presumably, there are a few parts this governor doesn't like. It's like a line-item veto on steroids.

Even if it is, that will only cover until the next session. At that point everything that's going back in - even if they just plunk the whole regulatory manual back down for a vote - will require them to have 'commenting periods' where people and industry get to have their say on the effects, benefits, and drawbacks of each bit of regulation.

So tons of stuff would end up getting dropped simply because there's only so much political capital available and you can't defend everything at the same time.

So the Idahoan regime has collapsed. I can not imagine Brazilian politicians failing to approve key legislation.

One down 49 more to go. Implement sunset laws. I would also be in favor of all laws and regulations passed by the state to be voted on by the citizens before it can become law.

Careful what you wish for. For example property rights are state regulations. If they sunset through political negligence you might find your neighbor has built his house on your land and stolen your car and you have no legal recourse.

'zactly. Many scorched-earth libertarians seem to not have the slightest idea how much they will miss much of the legal/regulatory system.

Bathwater; meet baby.

I've long since given up hope that expirements in deregulatory wish-fulfillment would lead to teachable moments. But these guys seem impervious to object lessons.

Don’t worry McMike, I’m sure you will still find a way to keep black people out of your neighborhood. Have faith brother.

uh huh, what you choose to troll about tells us a lot about what keeps you awake at night worrying about.

Right, this time the world will end and you won't make a chicken little of yourself.

I just want to keep their children out of my garage at night.

Criminal statutes aren't regulation, right? What regulations govern the existence of private property?

We'll, Idaho may well find out if regulations are only the stuff that annoys teenage boys, and all the useful stuff approved by freedom-lovers will stay intact.

Regardless, if the experiment fails, we can count on them to blame the Community Reinvestment Act, and maybe the Idahoan's lack of will to see it through, what with how it is dominated by liberals and RINOs.

You don't like Idaho - it's full of deplorables.

I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. ... it smells like, sniff sniff, bigotry.

While the several big lies underpinning the CRA were made statute and set in legal precedent stone and its sordid implementations contributed to decades of problems (e.g., 2008), the CRA is far from the source of all evil. That would be the Democrat party.

Sweet Home Alabama!

See you at the Supreme Court, baby killers.

I doubt this will affect the deed to your land, but maybe you neighbor can now build on the property line rather than keeping a 5 or 10 ft offset.

>rather than keeping a 5 or 10 ft offset.

Stuff like that is normally local.

Basic property rights are covered under criminal law, not regulatory - so there's no danger there.

Now, the laws that prevent your neighbor from painting his house bright pink and putting lawn gnomes out in the front yard . . .

Careful what you wish for. For example property rights are state regulations. I

Don't think so. Statutory law, with references to state constitutions.

Lots of property rights are defined within state regulatory codes. The tort of nuisance, for instance, is in most places defined by code. So good luck getting your neighbour to stop burning tires in his backyard even if the fumes render your property uninhabitable. Libertarian paradise!

Libertarians believe in pricing externalities, have for ... ever?

(Tort of Nuisance is statutory in Idaho, too.)

Then you would sue.

All the regulation does in this case is pre-empt a use. Just because a regulation doesn't exist preventing a use doesn't mean that that use can't cause a tort.

So, no regulation will prevent your neighbor from burning tires in his back yard. But if his use imposes a negative externality on you you can still use the courts to get compensation or stop that specific use.

Yes, but are parking minimums repealed? Single family zoning? Highly unlikely.

Idaho couldn't even figure out to legalize hemp despite its legality at the federal level now. Don't expect much.

This is all state level stuff.

Things that are handled at the local level - like zoning - wouldn't be affected.

Parking minimums - any state requirement would be null, that doesn't mean that the local government doesn't have its own, which would still be in effect.

"A new governor is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to repeal an outdated and burdensome regulatory code and replace it with a more streamlined and sensible set of rules."

Does anyone have time, money, or staff for that kind of thing?

Incremental refactoring often beats a scratch-built replacement. People forget requirements, rush to completion, end up with something less and poorer performing than the original.

If you want improvement, get some groups proposing small edits in small bites. Walk your way to a new optimum.

Lessee... the past few people to been given the gift of legislative free reign:

George W Bush
Gov Scott Walker
Donald Trump

Yet, Mr. Bush supports President Captain Bolsonaro's leadership. I praise Mr. Bush.

Don't forget Obummer and his filibuster proof 2008 Congress. You know, the fascist with a pen and a cell-phone.

I like the way a post about Idaho and regulation brings out the crazies

Uhh you're posting on a libertarian blog, friendo. I think your opinions are perhaps the ones outside the norm here.

So the "baby killers" guy above, he sounds really libertarian

I don't know too many pro-tariff or anti-immigration libertarians, do you?

I guess you're not familiar with the idea of an equilibrium

People may choose inertia, which isn't actually the same thing.

What could possibly go wrong?

Hail Caesar, er, Governor!.

Send your PAC contributions to

Too late, the Koch Brothers and ALEC bought up every plane ticket and hotel room in the state for the next two years.

Damn, I hope so...

What a wonderful opportunity for regulatory capture.

What a wonderful opportunity to get all the Ammon Bundy's and Timothy Mcveighs in one place and shut to gate.

Don't you need to dry the dishes?

I'd take a couple of Ammon Bundys over a Pelosi or Harris or AOC or Bloomberg.....anytime.
We've had our share of FBI and Border Patrol raids over small potato

It's like a spectrum auction or naming rights for sports arenas. Every year, you sell a section of the regulatory code to the highest bidder, who gets to draft it however they like. Yay, a "free market" at last!

funny&dishonest way to frame the issue
legislative failure doesn't equal governor gaming system

Be clear what they’re saying here. The White House is arguing that the congressional watergate investigation was actually illegal never should have happened.

we still kinda thinka that nixon
planted the pumpkin papers

I have some sympathy for regulatory burdens on businesses and citizens, but I'm not sure we realize a lot of efficiencies by introducing profound uncertainty into the entire regulatory landscape process every few years so people can't conduct a basic transaction without worrying about it being voided by some regulatory change in the next six months.

It'll sure keep the lawyers fully employed, though! So I'm all for it.


Wait for insurance premiums to skyrocket in Idaho. Many regs are developed and recommended by the insurance industry, after all.

The fundamental premise of the teenage "libertarians" to whom this proposition titillates is that all or most all regulation is of the sort that blocks them from doing the things their hypothetical entrepreneur heroes and joe sixpack small businessmen want to do.

The possibility that much regulation in place was put there for bona fide health and safety and commerce, or absent that, at the behest of and in the favor of business lobbyists both legitimate and crony, well, that's a concept that they are unwilling and unable to confront.

What is up with the sudden propaganda push to label libertarians as teenagers? Its sudden and recent.

Nonsense, that's been a thing for decades. Probably goes back to about the time Ayn published her romance novels, which titillated generations of impressionable and rebellious if not aimless young men living in the parent's basements.

There would be no reason for insurance rates to skyrocket.

If you've done things IAW the previous regulatory regime then you're doing what the insurance company recommends as best practices so no rate increase.

If you aren't then the insurance company politely says 'do these things we recommend as best practices and you can lower your insurance bill - or we won't insure you'. And then the vast majority of people go 'hey, those are actually pretty decent ideas, yeah, we'll do that'.

Which is better than the system where the government says 'the insurance company says you should do these things, they've paid us a lot of money, do those things or we'll kill you.'

addenda. Indeed, how can a business like insurance or banking operate without the legal framework that exists for their protection and clarity as anything else. It cannot, which is why an emergency measure will certiainly be implemented.

Prediction: little or no economic impact observable over the next, say, 5 years. Possibly some mild uplift 5+ years on.

Reason: Regulation is not binary but a function of enforcement. The speed limit is not 55 mph but 55 mph times the monitoring of speed times the penalty for breaking it. A speed limit of 70 mph can be a lot more onerous than one of 55 mph. Imagine if the first came with gps monitors on every car that instantly issued tickets anytime you hit 71 mph while the second is enforced with random cops pulling people over.

A 'bloated regulatory code' is only bloated if it is fully enforced. More likely only a portion of it is enforced and only a portion has real everyday impact (i.e. some law about not watering your horse on main street on Sundays still on the books doesn't mean anything to most economic life these days).

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