Taking Action

Justice issues timely executive order

Most of us were taught in school that the legislative branch of government is responsible for new laws. No approval by representatives of the people, no new law.

It just isn’t true. Most of the laws by which we live and do business these days are issued by state and federal agencies, without even letting state legislators and Congress know they are coming.

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice took long-overdue action against legislation by bureaucrat. He issued an executive order banning state agencies from adopting new regulations or changing existing ones.

Justice’s action mirrors orders issued by President Donald Trump last year. Trump reined in agencies that have become judges, juries and executioners by issuing tens of thousands of rules and regulations during just the past few years.

Critics already have begun overloading the bandwagon in accusing Justice of placing West Virginians and our environment at risk. “The order sends a message of disregard for potential consequences of limiting agencies’ own authority to protect public health and safety,” commented Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. She accused the governor of “pulling the state in a direction of increased vulnerability.”

Justice’s order may need revision in the future. Some of the rules and regulations issued by state agencies are necessary, even vital.

But many are not. They make it more expensive and difficult for businesses to function — and for all Mountain State residents to go about our daily lives.

In fact, the governor’s order exempts some rule-making, such as that in emergencies and in response to federal orders.

But in beginning the process of reining in the bureaucracy — which should have no power not granted by legislators — Justice has done West Virginians a great service.