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Regulatory Reform

Wisconsin’s regulatory climate and permitting burdens are often viewed as among the most aggressive in the country. Wisconsin businesses are increasingly encountering overly aggressive state regulators with a “gotcha” mentality toward regulatory compliance – seeking to impose penalties first and asking questions later. To provide a better and more predictable regulatory climate, important prior reforms like 2011 Act 21 and the REINS Act need to be utilized and strengthened to hold bureaucrats accountable to the law. Every dollar a business spends on regulations that are too costly, complex and cumbersome is a dollar that can’t be spent to raise wages, hire additional workers or expand the business.

Regulatory Reform


A misguided 2021 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision suggested a new standard (“explicit but broad”) for an agency’s statutory authority to regulate. Rein in overzealous bureaucrats and agency “super regulators” by reaffirming that an agency needs explicit statutory authority in order to regulate businesses and the public.

Align Wisconsin employment and environmental regulations with corresponding federal requirements to eliminate the additional cost and complexity of complying with overlapping and “Wisconsin-only” regulations. Ensure that newly promulgated rules are no more restrictive than federal requirements.

Allow legal challenges to state agency rules to be brought like all other civil actions against the state – in the county selected by the Plaintiff. Current law treats litigation against state agency rules differently than all other litigation and requires it to be filed in the Plaintiff’s home county. In addition, remove the statutory presumption that agencies followed all legal requirements when promulgating a rule, as most agencies cut corners and do not follow the law.

Current law requires special considerations with respect to the cost and regulatory burden of rules impacting small businesses. Unfortunately, the agency writing the rule decides whether their rule has a small business impact, rendering these protections largely useless. Strengthen the current protections to ensure all rules impacting small businesses are fully analyzed for impacts on small businesses.
Establish new criteria for agency regulations that require rules be written in simple and clear language, while considering the costs and benefits of the rule, and regulating in the least burdensome manner.
Promote a consistent, stable and transparent regulatory environment by holding state agencies accountable. When agencies and bureaucrats violate the law or exceed their regulatory authority, WMC will direct legal resources to push back.

Utilize REINS Act (2017 Act 57) reforms to block, suspend, or repeal burdensome regulations that lack explicit statutory authority. Improve our regulatory environment by regularly reviewing existing administrative rules to repeal or reform obsolete, costly or cumbersome regulations.

Oppose regulations and policies that negatively impact Wisconsin’s business climate. Oppose rules and policies that create uncertainty and are unnecessarily costly, complex or burdensome requirements on the regulated community. Support policies that incentivize investment and create an attractive business climate in Wisconsin so that our state continues to prosper.

To view all the bills WMC is registered on, please click here.

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Craig Summerfield


If you would like to learn more about our stance on environmental reform or have questions, contact Craig Summerfield, WMC’s Director of Environmental & Energy Policy.

Regulatory Reform

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