Governor issues moratorium on drafting of new state rules
Gov. Kim Reynolds gives the Condition of the State address to members of the Iowa Legislature inside the House Chamber, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, at the Iowa State Capitol, in Des Moines. (Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP)

DES MOINES — Governor Reynolds has issued a moratorium on new rule-making by state government agencies. After the governor signs laws passed by the legislature, state administrators draft rules to implement those laws.

“Over time, Iowa’s Administrative Code has ballooned to over 20,000 pages and over 190,000 restrictive terms,” Reynolds said during her “Condition of the State” address last night. “Many of these rules are unnecessary. Some are actually counterproductive, short circuiting legitimate economic activity and making our state less competitive.”

Reynolds has directed state agencies to review every rule and regulation they have on the books today, make a cost-benefit analysis and repeal those that have an undue economic burden. “When it’s all said and done, Iowa will have a smaller, clearer and more growth friendly regulatory system,” Reynolds said.

Representative Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids will become chair of the legislative panel that reviews proposed state government rules and regulations in February.

“I’m excited to review that executive order and see how we’re going to implement this,” Jones told Radio Iowa. “For years, now, I have been trying to reduce the burden or regulations on our businesses and Iowans and just the volume of that code because the Administrative Code is burdensome and a lot of people tend to forget that those are laws, too.”

Jones, who is an attorney, has been on the legislative committee that can approve or reject proposed state government rules since 2013. Jones said during that first year, the extent of state government rule-making became clear.

“We were regulating the amount of dog poop that someone could have in their yard,” Jones said. “It was a certain circumstance. These people were having a state license and things like that, but it was like: ‘Wow, this is really getting into the weeds here.’”

Governor Reynolds said this initiative to freeze development of state government rules is paired with her plan to consolidate state agencies. She told lawmakers these two proposals will “minimize the burden of state government regulation.”