Scott abides by court ruling; now only informally reviews rules, aide saysby John Kennedy | October 5th, 2011
Less than two months after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Rick Scott could not require agencies to get his formal approval for rules they wanted to enact, a spokesperson said Wednesday the office is still reviewing the proposals — informally.
But a few House Democrats said such action may violate at least the spirit of justices’ 5-2 decision.
“Isn’t this like an end run around the court decision, that you”re subverting the court ruling?” Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, asked Patricia Nelson, deputy director of Scott’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform.
Nelson said the governor still insisted on a “very close oversight of agency rulemaking.” But she denied that agencies had to go through the governor to get a go-ahead.
Indeed, Nelson said that if an agency has a standard that it must set quickly, or if there’s a backlog slowing review of a proposed rule, officials are told to enact it.
“We tell them you can move forward, because you don’t have to wait for my approval, based on the Supreme Court ruling,” Nelson said.
In a letter to agency heads sent shortly after the court ruling, Scott chief-of-staff Steve MacNamara said the governor “believes the majority opinion is illogical and grossly misreads the Florida Constitution.” MacNamara said Nelson’s three-person office will continue to “advise” agencies on what kind of rules they should enact.
Scott has vowed to cut government regulations and red tape. But Democrats on the House Rulemaking and Regulation Subcommittee saidWednesday they were concerned that Scott’s review still amounted to undue influence, while acknowledging the agencies affected are under his control.
“It raises some great concern to me,” said Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens.