Huzzah: Minnesota legislature’s “unsession” repeals 1,200 nonsensical laws and red tape
posted at 4:41 pm on May 29, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
More states, not to mention the federal government, should be doing this. Regularly. Via Pioneer Press:
It’s no longer a crime in Minnesota to carry fruit in an illegally sized container. The state’s telegraph regulations are gone. And it’s now legal to drive a car in neutral — if you can figure out how to do it.
Those were among the 1,175 obsolete, unnecessary and incomprehensible laws that Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature repealed this year as part of the governor’s “unsession” initiative. …
“We got rid of all the silly laws,” said Tony Sertich, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board commissioner who headed Dayton’s effort.
But even better than getting rid of outdated and downright ridiculous laws clogging up the books that nobody would bother to enforce anyway, the state also cut several areas of red tape for businesses, implemented a requirement that its agencies communicate with residents and businesses in plain language, slimmed down its tax code, and got rid of a handful of obsolete bureaucratic minutiae:
Under a new law, the Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources must attempt to issue environmental permits to businesses within 90 days. The administration estimates 11,000 of the 15,000 permit requests it receives each year will meet that goal, and more complex permits will be issued within 150 days. …
A $447 million tax cut bill that Dayton signed in March not only provided income tax relief but also simplified filing returns by making state tax law conform to changes in the federal tax code. Those revisions “made tax forms easier to understand and less time-consuming to prepare” for more than 1 million Minnesota taxpayers, the governor said. …
Legislators launched an initiative that got rid of more than 30 advisory boards, councils and task forces that had outlived their usefulness.
Taking a moment out of the regularly scheduled lawmaking to deliberately examine opportunities for unlawmaking is never a bad idea; perhaps the results of this “unsession” initiative won’t amount to all that much in the grand scheme of bureaucratic convolution, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.