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House passes legislation to keep state rules from exceeding federal rules

May 18, 2017

Controversial legislation on state regulatory rules is making its way through the Legislature.

The House approved a bill Thursday to prevent the state from being tougher on things like environmental and workplace safety than the federal government.

Proponents of the legislation, say less regulation is the way to go and a federal standard is enough regulation for the state.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard supported similar legislation that failed in the Senate last year, and again voted in favor.

“It puts these types of decisions in the hands of those that are elected and those that are accountable to the people and takes it out of those, the hands of those that are unelected bureaucrats,” he said.

The law would provide for some exceptions. For example, Governor Rick Snyder has expressed an interest in making the state’s Lead and Copper Rule stricter than the federal rule. If this bill passed, the state would have to show clear and convincing evidence the stricter rule is necessary in order for it to change.

But environmental groups and others have expressed concerns.

Democratic Representative Robert Wittenberg said the bill would tie the state’s hands and prevent it from making regulations it deems necessary.

“I think those regulations that are put in place federally are a floor and not a ceiling and I think we should be able to further regulate if we deem necessary,” he said.