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Whitsetts team up to denounce bureaucracy, too many rules in governmentGovernment rules are getting in the way of good government, say Oregon Rep. Gail Whitsett and Sen. Doug Whitsett.
The husband-and-wife Republicans spoke to the American Association of University Women at a meeting Saturday, going over the year in the Oregon Legislature.“There are over 11,000 administrative rules created or amended every year in Oregon.” Doug Whitsett said. “How can anyone know the laws?”
Which sparked the question from an AAUW member: How does the state determine which rules it follows thorough with?While the Legislature may set statute, government departments and officials craft the rules to put those statutes into action, Doug Whitsett said.
“The government agencies hire thousands and thousands of employees to go through and make sure all of these administrative rules are being followed,” Gail Whitsett said. “They have literally thousands of bureaucrats who are making sure that every line is filled out appropriately for it, no matter what agency it is. We are so micro-managed in this state it’s not even funny.”Cover Oregon, Oregon’s website for the Affordable Act, is the latest in such overburdened bureaucracy, the Whitsetts argued.
Doug Whitsett said $300 million was spent on Cover Oregon, and after a month, not a single person is signed up.“It doesn’t work,” he said. “One of the reasons it doesn’t work is it has 1,700 moving parts. This website tries to capture 1,700 rules.”
On Saturday it was announced Cover Oregon will hire 400 new people to process applications. What was supposed to take minutes on a website will take weeks to be done by hand, Doug Whitsett said.“That’s what we’re talking about with administrative rules,” he said. “It shuts down everybody’s ability to work.”
Gail Whitsett said Cover Oregon is also an example of government starting with an idea, but not working out the nitty-gritty details in time.“That happens so often in legislation. We see it all the time: let’s just do this and worry about it later,” she said. “Later is coming. Later is here. We are in a lot of trouble. Often times in the Legislature they want to pass things, whoever has their agenda, they want to get it passed without knowing the details. So it’s an uphill struggle.”
Gail Whitsett said she would like to see fewer regulations by way of limiting funding to government agencies.“I would like to personally see some of the agencies have a reduction in the amount of money so they can’t hire all these people to make all these rules,” she said. “You have these few legislators and then you have these thousands and thousands of agency people. I think that we’ve given an awful lot of money to agencies and over-funded them.
“They kind of make work for themselves,” she continued. “I hate to say that, but they’re busy doing something and that something is regulating us.”email@example.com ; @TiplerHN
Joe Kati Smith
I would not have been surprised to learn a state the size of Oregon, with the population we have, would have 11,000 laws on the books, BUT when Sen. Doug Whitsett reported Oregon creates 11,000 new administrative rules EACH YEAR, it kind of took the wind out of my sails. We don't just take a small step backward around here, we are sprinting in the wrong direction at an amazing pace, because not matter how you slice it, every new law enacted takes away a little bit of freedom from someone. Albeit, some laws are necessary to preserve order in society, but reaching the point where we pay legislators to sit around and dream up 2.5 new laws an hour, every hour of the day, 365 days of the year cannot be a good thing. Oh wait, they don't work 365 days a year.
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