Isabelle Morales

List: 117 Regulations Waived to Help Fight COVID-19

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, March 27th, 2020, 1:15 PM PERMALINK

The Trump administration and state and local governments are wisely suspending regulations in order to help the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

Many of these regulations were never needed in the first place, given their tendency to reduce innovation and access to care, not to mention their restriction on American liberty.

Below is a list of suspended rules and regulations.  If you have another example to add, please send it to ideas@atr.org

Suspended federal rules and regulations:

FDA allows state leeway in virus testing 

"The FDA will allow states to take responsibility for tests developed and used by laboratories within their borders. The labs will not have to pursue Emergency Use Authorization from the agency, an emergency clearance that is normally required." - STAT News (3/16/20)

FDA loosens regulations on distribution of newly developed tests    

"Under certain circumstances, the agency will not object to any manufacturers that distribute newly developed tests before the FDA grants emergency clearance, and a similar stance will be taken toward labs that use these new tests." - STAT News (3/16/20)

DOT provides hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief  

"This deregulatory action will allow greater flexibility for truck drivers transporting goods such as necessary medical supplies, testing equipment, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and food required for emergency restocking of stores." - Americans for Tax Reform (3/16/20)

Not all test kits required to be sent to a CDC lab    

"The administration removed a regulation that required all test kits to be sent to a CDC lab to be confirmed by federal authorities, a process that extended the wait times for patients to be notified about their results."  - Washington Examiner (3/13/20)

Allowance of licensed health care professionals to work in a different state from which they are licensed

The "requirements that physicians or other health care professionals hold licenses in the State in which they provide services, if they have an equivalent license from another State (and are not affirmatively barred from practice in that State or any State a part of which is included in the emergency area)" are being waived. - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (3/13/20)

TSA allowing hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces    

"TSA is allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately..." - Transportation Security Administration (3/13/20)

Loosening HIPAA requirements in order to expand telemedicine

In order to allow patients to more easily communicate with their providers, the Administration loosened the HIPAA requirements surrounding telemedicine. This important change allows doctors to see patients via commonly used apps like FaceTime and Skype that were previously non-HIPAA compliant. - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (3/17/20) 

Allowing out-of-state doctors to treat patients through telehealth    

"HHS Secretary Alex Azar waive certain laws to expand the use of telehealth, which public health experts say can help reduce risk of transmission. The new order appears to let Azar waive federal licensing requirements so out-of-state doctors can treat patients virtually in states with the greatest need." - Politico (3/13/20)  

Easing restrictions on online courses at colleges and universities

The Department of Education has moved to ease rules on colleges and universities who are shifting their classes online. There are a collection of rules being eased, not enforced. - Office of Postsecondary Education (3/5/20) 

Allowing distilled spirits permittees (DSPs) to produce hand sanitizer    

"Due to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Acting Administrator of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has found that it is necessary or desirable to waive provisions of internal revenue law with regard to distilled spirits, and therefore is providing certain exemptions and authorizations to distilled spirits permittees who wish to produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers to address the demand for such products during this emergency." - Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (3/18/20)

The Small Business Administration relaxed criteria for disaster assistance loans, expanding small businesses’ access to economic assistance

"Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance. Historically, the SBA has required that any state or territory impacted by disaster provide documentation certifying that at least five small businesses have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county/parish. Under the just-released, revised criteria, states or territories are only required to certify that at least five small businesses within the state/territory have suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of where those businesses are located." - Small Business Administration (3/17/20)

Tax deadline extended until July by the IRS

The Trump Administration has extended the tax deadline to allow more flexibility in filing during this chaotic time. Americans for Tax Reform still recommends that taxpayers file their returns as soon as possible. Most taxpayers get refunds, in total amounting to about $50B in refunds that could be injected into the economy now. Taxpayers should be encouraged to file their returns as soon as possible to get refunds NOW to help them recover.

"Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due."  - Internal Revenue Service (3/18/20)

FDA eases rules to increase ventilator production

"First, the guidance describes the agency’s intention to exercise enforcement discretion for certain modifications to these FDA-cleared devices. Normally, any time a manufacturer or user makes a modification to a ventilator device, for instance, adding wireless and/or Bluetooth capability for remote monitoring, those modifications can often trigger an FDA premarket review, which can delay the time it takes to get these devices to the bedside. The guidance also helps manufacturers ramp up their manufacturing by adding production lines or alternative sites, for instance, using non-medical device manufacturers such as automobile manufacturers, to start manufacturing ventilator parts....Second, as outlined in this guidance, hospitals and health care professionals may use ventilators intended for other environments... Finally, the agency encourages manufacturers, whether foreign or domestic, to talk to FDA about pursuing an emergency use authorization (EUA), which would allow them to distribute their ventilators in the United States." - U.S. Food and Drug Administration (3/22/20)

Puerto Rico and other territories allowed to acquire protective equipment (like masks) from non-U.S. sources

"Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave Puerto Rico and other territories the discretion to acquire personal protective equipment from non-U.S. sources… Previously, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia were obliged to purchase only U.S.-made personal protective equipment in accordance with the Buy American Act." - Reason (3/24/20)

FCC lends wireless internet service providers 5.9 GHz Spectrum to help them serve rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

"The 60-day grant of special temporary authority (STA) for use of the lower 45 MHz of the band is to help them serve rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC said the grants will help with telehealth, distance learning and telework in rural communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia." - Multichannel News (3/27/20)

Suspended state rules and regulations:

Alabama - Allowance for the curbside sale of alcoholic beverages    

"Officials in Alabama have signed an emergency order to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages curbside at licensed businesses in the state." - WBRC (3/17/20)

Alabama - Allows for prescriptions to be filled for longer than 30 days    

"Due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus, the Alabama Board of Pharmacy is allowing pharmacists to process emergency refills on essential medications." - WHNT (3/16/20) 

Arizona - Expanding scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

"Governor Ducey notified the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of his decision to exempt the State of Arizona from a federal regulation requiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to be supervised by a physician. The reform will expand access to care, especially in rural areas, and free up physicians for other needed medical services." - Office of Governor Doug Ducey (3/24/20)

Arizona - Expanding licensing opportunities by helping licensed professionals in the state stay licensed and deferring certain requirements for six months

"Under the Executive Order, state agencies and boards will defer requirements to renew licenses that have an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020 by six months from the expiration date, unless those requirements can be completed online. Additionally, they will defer requirements to complete continuing education by six months, unless those requirements can be completed online." - Office of Governor Doug Ducey (3/26/20)

Arkansas - Lifting restrictions on telehealth law, which required an in-person encounter to establish a professional relationship

"To fully leverage telehealth in Arkansas and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I am suspending the provisions… requiring an in-person encounter, or a face to face examination using real time audio and visual means to establish a professional relationship. Physicians licensed in Arkansas who have access to a patient's personal health record maintained by a physician may establish a professional relationship with a patient using any technology deemed appopriate by the provider... with a citizen located in Arkansas to diagnose, treat and if clinically appropriate, prescribe a non-controlled drug to that patient." - Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson (3/24/20)

Colorado - Expedited medical licensing    

"Governor Polis said he would order the state to expedite licensing of new medical professionals and asked medical professionals who might be retired or are in a different profession to reconnect with their prior employer to supplement the state’s health cares systems if and when medical professionals are diagnosed with COVID-19." - CPR News (3/13/20)

Colorado - Interstate reciprocity for health care licenses    

"In order to scale up our health care workforce capacity, I have asked the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies to cut through the red tape on licensing our medical professionals so that medical professionals - including pharmacists, nurses, doctors - who are licensed in other states but residing here can be immediately licensed in Colorado as quickly as possible to address this shortage." - Office of Governor Jared Polis (3/13/20)

Colorado - Deregulatory efforts for drivers' licensing and vehicle registration

Governor Polis closed the state’s DMVs, waived the restriction on online renewals for residents 65 and older, and permitted counties to waive late fees and renewals for vehicle registration. - Office of Governor Jared Polis (3/2020)

Connecticut - Office of Health Strategy to waive Certificates of Need

"Authorizes the Office of Health Strategy to waive Certificates of Need and other requirements to ensure adequate availability of healthcare resources and facilities." - Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/14/20)

Connecticut - Waives certain easily childhood care licensing requirements

"Governor Lamont signed his third executive order since the enactment of the emergency declarations earlier this week. The order issued... authorizes the Commissioner of Early Childhood to waive certain licensing and other requirements to maintain and increase the availability of childcare…" - Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/14/20)

Connecticut - Easing regulations on pharmacist procedure

"Governor Lamont today signed his third executive order since the enactment of the emergency declarations earlier this week. The order issued... waives requirements for pharmacists to use certain personal protective equipment when working with non-hazardous, sterile compounds." - Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/14/20)

Connecticut - Allows pharmacists to make and sell hand sanitizer

"Governor Lamont today signed his third executive order since the enactment of the emergency declarations earlier this week. The order issued… allows pharmacists to compound and sell hand sanitizer." - Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/14/20)

Connecticut - Established interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

"Permits physicians, nurses, respiratory care practitioners, emergency medical services personnel, and other health care practitioners who are licensed in another state to provide temporary assistance in Connecticut for a period of 60 days." - Connecticut’s Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (3/23/20)

Connecticut - Suspension of Tax on Single-Use Checkout Bags

"Temporary Suspension of Tax on Single-Use Checkout Bags. All provisions of Section 355 of Public Act 19-117, as codified in Section 22a246a of the 2020 Supplement to the Connecticut General Statutes, regarding single-use plastic checkout bags, are temporarily suspended through May 15, 2020, unless earlier modified, extended, or terminated by me. The Commisioner of Revenue Services shall issue any implementing order he deems necessmy, and any guidance for businesses on accounting or other necessmy measures during this temporary suspension." - Office of Governor Ned Lamont (3/26/20)

Florida  - Customer service representatives allowed to work remotely    

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued a directive allowing Florida agency customer service representatives, who would normally be restricted from conducting business outside of a licensed agency, to work remotely. - Florida Department of Financial Services (3/17/20)

Florida - Interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

"For purposes of preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19, health care professionals, advanced life support professionals, and basic life support professionals holding a valid, unrestricted, and unencumbered license in any state, territory, and/or district may render such services in Florida during a period not to exceed thirty days unless extended by order of the State Surgeon General, if such health care practitioner does not represent or hold themselves out as a health care practitioner licensed to practice in Florida." - State Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees, Executive Order (3/16/20) ​​​​

Florida - Out-of-state health care professionals may use telehealth to care for patients in Florida

"For purposes of preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19, health care professionals not licensed in this state may provide health care services to a patient licensed in this state using telehealth…" - State Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees, Executive Order (3/16/20)

Florida - Emergency medical services training programs may use remote instruction and simulations

"For purposes of preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19, emergency medical services training programs may, with the approval ofthe training program medical director, substitute supervised remote live videoconferencing or simulation for one-half of the supervised clinical instruction hours and one-half of the supervised field internship hours required by section 401.2701, Florida Statutes, and applicable rules.​" - State Surgeon General Scott A Rivkees, Executive Order (3/16/20)

Florida - Physicians may issue a physician certification for the medical use of marijuana without a physical examination

"For purposes of preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19, qualified physicians under section 381.986, Florida Statutes [medical use of marijuana], may issue a physician certification only for an existing qualified patient with an existing certification that was issued by that qualified physician without the need to conduct a physical examination while physically present in the same room as the patient." - State Surgeon General Scott A Rivkees, Executive Order (3/16/20)

Florida - Controlled substance prescribing practitioners may issue a renewal prescription by the use of telehealth services

"For purposes of preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19, physicians, osteopathic physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses licensed in Florida that have designated themselves as a controlled substance prescribing practitioner pursuant to section 456.44, may issue a renewal prescription for a controlled substance listed as Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV under chapter 893 only for an existing patient for the purpose of treating chronic nonmalignant pain without the need to conduct a physical examination of the patient. These practitioners may only substitute telehealth services for the physical examination." - State Surgeon General Scott A Rivkees, Executive Order (3/16/20)

Florida - All rules that would limit distribution, dispensing, or administration of otherwise legitimate prescription drugs are suspended

"For the purposes of preparing for, responding to, and mitigating any effect of COVID-19, the provisions of chapters 499 and 465, Florida Statutes, and rules promulgated thereunder, that if applied, would operate to limit distribution, dispensing, or administration of otherwise legitimate prescription drugs in a manner that could hinder, prevent, or delay mitigation of any health-related condition are suspended for a period of thirty days, unless extended."- State Surgeon General Scott A Rivkees, Executive Order (3/16/20)

Georgia - Allowing charity to provide food to students in need

"Despite the selfless services that MUST Ministries provides, last year, government regulators stepped in and informed the charity that they can longer run the summer lunch program in the manner that they were accustomed.... Thanks to coronavirus, schools are temporarily closed across Georgia to contain COVID-19’s spread. The negative byproduct of this is that many underserved children, who would otherwise receive school lunches, now risk going hungry. To the government’s credit, schools are planning to somehow provide kids these lunches. According to 11Alive News, “To continue to support Cobb students while schools are closed, the Cobb County School District is partnering with MUST Ministries to provide food to students in need.”" - All On Georgia (3/19/20)

Iowa - Reduced number of hours of experience needed for medical students to obtain a license if the higher education institution approves

"I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions... to the extent that they require a minimum number of hours of field experience if the higher education institution providing practitioner preparation program determines that the student has completed sufficient field experience to determine that the student should be recommended for licensure." - Office of Governor Kim Reynolds (3/17/20)

Iowa - Temporary medical licenses to be granted to assist with COVID-19 response for individuals who held a license within the last five years, but is currently inactive

"I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions... implementing administrative rules which prohibit the practice of medicine and surgery, osteopathic medicine and surgery, nursing, respiratory care, and practice as a physician assistant, by a licensee whose license is inactive or lapsed.  Suspension of these provisions is limited to licenses which have lapsed or expired within the five (5) years prior to this Proclamation..." - Office of Governor Kim Reynolds (3/17/20)

Louisiana - Expansion of access to Telehealth Services

"The requirement… that each state agency or professional or occupational licensing board or commission that regulates the practice of a healthcare provider promulgate any rules necessary to provide for, promote, or regulate the use of telehealth in the delivery of healthcare services within the scope of proactive regulated by the licensing entity is hereby suspended during the term of this emergency declaration." - Office of Governor John Bel Edwards (3/19/20)

Louisiana - Loosened regulations on ambulance staffing requirements

"The ambulance staffing requirements set forth in R.S. 40:1135.1 (A)(2)(a) are hereby temporarily suspended as to ambulance drivers, provided that such driver possesses a driver's license valid in the State of Louisiana and meets the criminals background check requirements…"  - Office of Governor John Bel Edwards (3/19/20)

Louisiana - Loosened staffing requirements for lab personnel

"The licensing and certification requirements for Louisiana Clinical Laboratory Personnel set forth… including any requirements for criminal background checks be temporarily suspended for those laboratory personnel conducting COVID-19 testing who demonstrate molecular biology polymerase chain reaction (PCR) experience and/or for those who demonstrate serological experience in testing clinical samples... " - Office of Governor John Bel Edwards (3/19/20)

Louisiana - Online lab simulations allowed to substitute for classroom instruction and in-person clinicals

"All Public Post-secondary institutions and proprietary schools within the state of Louisiana that are licensed by the Louisiana Board of Regents shall be allowed to substitute in-person clinical and classroom instruction with online and lab simulations for enrolled students..." - Office of Governor John Bel Edwards (3/19/20)

Louisiana - Temporary permits for medical professionals

"The added language in sections 3329 and 4513 will address the public health emergency crisis that is taking place in Louisiana. In Chapter 33, section 3329 the board may extend the expiration of temporary permits for new graduates who have been unable to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam or reinstate an expired permit during a public health emergency." - Louisiana Department of Health, Board of Nursing (3/2020)

Louisiana - Delayed tax collection and deadline

The order extends the sales tax returns and excise tax returns deadline to May 20, 2020.

"The purpose of this guidance is to provide filing and payment extension relief for certain taxes due on March 20, 2020." - Louisiana Department of Revenue (3/19/20)

Maine - Plastic bag ban suspended

Emergency legislation pushes back the effective date of the statewide plastic bag ban from April 22 to Jan. 15, 2021. - Maine Legislature (3/18/20)

Maine - Easing restrictions on physician assistants' ability to provide care

LD 1660 expanded the ability of physician assistants to provide health care, reducing the regulatory burden on health care providers, adjusting licensing rules, and making it easier to hire physician assistants. - Maine Legislature (3/17/20)

Maryland - Established interstate reciprocity for health care licenses 

"Prior to this new rule, state regulation was such that only people with health care licenses issued by the state could practice in Maryland." - Office of Governor Larry Hogan (3/16/20)

Maryland - Inactive practitioners allowed to practice     

"Any inactive practitioner may, at a health care facility in Maryland, engage in activities that would have been authorized under his/her inactive license without first reinstating his/her inactive license." - Office of Governor Larry Hogan (3/16/20)

Maryland - Removing limits on purchases of alcohol   

"Maryland has removed limits on purchases of craft beer and distilled spirits purchased at tap and tasting rooms for the duration of the governor’s state of emergency, Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Wednesday." - Washington Post (3/18/20)

Massachusetts - Allowance of some pharmacies to make hand sanitizer    

Governor Baker has allowed certain licensed pharmacists to make hand sanitizer to address state shortages. - Biz Journals (3/12/20) 

Massachusetts - Licensed medical workers able to get Mass. licenses in one day    

Gov. Baker is now allowing licensed medical workers from other states to get a Massachusetts license in one day. - New England Public Radio (3/15/20)

Massachusetts  - Allowance of expanded telemedicine    

"In an urgent response to the coronavirus threat, the state medical board voted to let doctors treat more patients online, made it easier for them to practice at multiple hospitals, and vowed to speed up the licensing of medical school graduates." - Boston Globe (3/16/20)

Massachusetts - Doctors given more ability to treat patients

"The new rule approved by the board makes it explicit that a doctor can treat a patient whom he or she has never seen in person as long as the physician considers it best for the patient during the health crisis." - Boston Globe (3/16/20)    

Massachusetts - Local bans on plastic bags lifted

"Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has… lifted local bans on plastic bags at grocery stores and pharmacies as part of his administration's latest steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus." - Boston Business Journal (3/25/20)

Michigan - DHHS loosens certificate of need requirements

"Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) may issue an emergency certificate of need to an applicant and defer strict compliance with the procedural requirements of section 22235 of the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended, MCL 333.22235, until the termination of the state of emergency under section 3 of Executive Order 2020-4." - Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Michigan - Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs allowed to grant a waiver for rules that previously limited the number of hospital beds and mobile health care facilities

"Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”) may grant a waiver under section 21564 of the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended, MCL 333.21564, to any licensed hospital in this state, regardless of number of beds or location, for the purpose of providing care during the COVID-19 emergency, to construct, acquire, or operate a temporary or mobile facility for any health care purpose, regardless of where the facility is located." - Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Michigan - Non-nursing assistants allowed to give a broader scope of care

"Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs may allow a non-nursing assistant such as an activity coordinator, social worker, or volunteer to help feed or transport a patient or resident in a manner consistent with the patient’s or resident’s care plan." - Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Michigan - Allows certified nursing aides to treat patients when needed, with the same autonomy as certified nurses

"Effective immediately and continuing through April 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) may issue a temporary registration as a certified nurse aide to an applicant, regardless of whether the applicant demonstrates to LARA that they have successfully completed the examination requirements of sections 21911 and 21913 of the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, as amended, MCL 333.21911 and MCL 333.21913." - Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/18/20)

Michigan - Temporary extension of deadline to redeem property for nonpayment of delinquent property taxes

"Strict compliance with subsection (3) of section 78g of the General Property Tax Act (“GPTA”), 1893 PA 206, as amended, MCL 211.78g(3), is temporarily suspended. As a result, the deadline by which property forfeited to a county treasurer must be redeemed is extended from March 31, 2020 until the later of (a) May 29, 2020, or (b) 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency under section 3 of Executive Order 2020-4." - Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (3/2020)

Mississippi - Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure to lift restrictions that will help reduce doctor-patient contact and allow telemedicine

"The state is allowing phone calls to count as a visit with the doctor so that those prescriptions can be refilled without an actual person to person visit." - WDAM (3/16/20) 

Mississippi - Allowing out of state physicians to practice telemedicine without being licensed in Mississippi    

"The licensure board is allowing out of state physicians to practice telemedicine without being licensed here, as long as they contact the board for authorization, are licensed and in good standing where they practice." - WDAM (3/16/20) 

Nebraska - Extending the tax deadline

"The State of Nebraska is providing this same income tax relief to state income taxpayers. The tax filing deadline will automatically be extended to July 15, 2020 for state income tax payments and estimated payments that were originally due on April 15, 2020.  Nebraskans who are able to pay earlier are encouraged to do so to help the State manage its cash flow." - Office of Governor Pete Ricketts (3/23/20)

Nebraska - Allowing takeout for mixed drinks with lids

Our restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest hit businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “I've signed an executive order to help them by allowing takeout for pre-made cocktails and other alcoholic beverages as long as they are sealed with a lid.” - Office of Governor Pete Ricketts (3/26/20)

Nebraska - Expanding access to childcare options

"The order is intended to activate nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and schools to help provide the care families need now.  It eases the licensing requirements to open and operate a temporary, non-residential child care in an alternative setting.  The executive order is effective immediately and will remain in place until 30 days after the State lifts the current COVID-19 state of emergency." - Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

New Hampshire - Allowing for take-out or delivery beer or wine    

"Temporary authorization for take-out or delivery beer or wine. All restaurants, diners, bars, saloons, private clubs or any other establishment that have both a restaurant license and on premise license from the New Hampshire liquor commission shall be temporarily authorized to allow for takeout or delivery of beer or wine." - Office of Governor Sununu (3/18/20)

New Hampshire - Expansion of access to Telehealth Services    

"All medical providers shall be allowed to perform health care services through the use of all modes of teleheatlh, including video and audio, audio-only, or other electronic media, to treat the residents of the state of NH for all medically necessary services." - Office of Governor Sununu (3/18/20)

New York - Restaurants and bars allowed to sell all forms of alcohol to-go    

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that as part of the new state-mandated take-out and delivery-only rule, restaurants and bars would also be allowed to sell all forms of alcohol to-go. - New York State Liquor Authority (3/17/20)

New York - Plastic bag ban suspended 

"New York won’t enforce it’s recently enacted plastic bag ban for another two months, the state announced this week... pushing back the enforcement date from April 1 to May 15. While the ban went into effect at the beginning of March, the enforcement was delayed due to a suit brought on by New York businesses who argue they had little time to prepare. The suit is essentially on hold as the courts prioritize cases amid the coronavirus crisis and critics claim the ban is a health risk. Industry groups called the move a blessing for retailers as well as customers who are worried about using reusable bags at a time when contamination is a key concern." - NY Daily News (3/19/20)

New York - Suspension of Certificate on Need Laws for hospitals

Hospitals no longer need to seek the state’s approval before making changes to their "physical plants," like temporarily increasing their bed capacities. - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

New York - Suspending laws mandating which cleaning products schools and the state may purchase

Laws that mandate that the only cleaning products that schools and the state can purchase are those that “minimize adverse impacts on children’s health and the environment” was suspended. Similarly, the procurement guidelines on buying these products have been relaxed. - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

New York - Criminal background checks for child care providers suspended

A law mandating that child care providers undergo criminal background checks has been suspended. - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

New York - Easing regulations on day care facilities

"Twenty-one other sections of Social Services regulations and a couple of sections of Social Services law dealing with day care have been put on ice. These suspensions will end capacity limits for day care facilities, let children of any age attend them and eliminate mandatory staffing minimums." - Politico (3/19/20)

New York - Construction, building code, and conservation laws relaxed when creating new hospitals, renovating hospitals

"Every state or local law dealing with construction, energy conservation, or building codes can be suspended by the Commissioner of Health when creating new hospitals or extensions to existing ones." - Politico (3/19/20)

New York - Expansion of COVID-19 testing abilities

"The Commissioner of Health will be able to establish a new training program that will let individuals who are not currently registered as nurses engage in tasks that one currently needs to be licensed for. They’ll be able to “collect throat or nasopharyngeal swab specimens” from potentially infected individuals and will generally be able to perform all other tasks “otherwise limited to the scope of practice of a licensed or registered nurse” as long as they’re being supervised by a nurse... People who are not licensed in the state as clinical laboratory technicians, but do “meet the federal requirements for high complexity testing,” will be allowed to preform Covid-19 tests. Doctors and nurse practitioners will be able to give nurses blanket authority to perform Covid-19 tests without supervision." - Politico (3/19/20)

New York - Allows individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by staff of the opposite sex

"Individuals with disabilities will no longer need to be “accompanied by same gender staff” while being transported from state facilities. This will “permit providers to utilize staff members in the most effective means possible.”" - Politico (3/19/20)

New York - Established interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

"Physicians who are licensed anywhere in the country are now able to practice in New York without getting a state license. The same goes for other health care licensees. "  - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

New York - Expansion of access to Telehealth Services

"Every state law and rule dealing with telemedicine is suspended to make it easier for remote visits to occur." - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

New York - Relaxed the approval process for administering a drug outside of the "state's preferred list"

The approval process needed for giving a patient a drug that’s not on the state’s preferred list is suspended “to the extent necessary to allow patients to receive prescribed drugs, without delay.” Also, a law that requires managed care providers to consult with prescribers before deciding whether to cover some drugs was suspended. - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

New York - Loosened limits on what kind of vehicles can be driven in the state

Some limits on what kinds of vehicles can be on New York roads have been suspended, to let those “validly registered in other jurisdictions” participate in response efforts. - Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (3/19/20)

North Carolina - Lifted "Certificate of Need" law regarding hospital beds    

"North Carolina temporarily lifted a regulation requiring hospitals to get state permission to add beds. The rule said hospitals couldn’t add more than 10% of their licensed bed capacity without state approval... Applying for a CON can cost as much as $500,000, and the state board which grants CONs doesn’t meet for months." - The Tribune Papers (3/15/20)

North Dakota - Identifying regulatory burden in state agencies

Burgum ordered state agencies to identify "any state laws, rules or regulations that hinder or delay their ability to render maximum assistance or continue to deliver essential services to citizens during the COVID-19 crisis. State elected officials and other executive branch offices were invited to do the same."  - Office of Governor Doug Burgum (3/20/20)

North Dakota - Expansion of access to Telehealth Services

Burgum suspended several regulatory and statutory requirements in order to "allow for expanded telehealth services in North Dakota as residents practice social distancing and medical facilities try to limit in-person visits to slow the spread of COVID-19." - Office of Governor Doug Burgum (3/20/20)

North Dakota - Recognition of expired licenses and registrations

"The... executive order requires law enforcement agencies and private sector businesses to recognize any North Dakota driver’s license or motor vehicle registration that expired on or after March 1, 2020, as valid and current as long as the executive order is in effect." - Office of Governor Doug Burgum (3/20/20)

North Dakota - Loosening regulatory requirements for hospital and health care facilities

"The licensing requirements for hospitals and other health care facilities… and all related provisions under the North Dakota Administrative Code are hereby suspended…"- Office of Governor Doug Burgum (3/20/20)

Oklahoma - Allowing health-care providers to provide care via telemedicine with no pre-existing relationship required

"The preexisting patient relationship requirement for telemedicine…is hereby waived so long as this Order is in effect." - Office of Governor J. Kevin Stitt (3/17/20)

Oklahoma - Interstate reciprocity for health care licenses

"Any medical professional who holds a license, certificate, or other permit issued by any state that is a party to the Emergency Management Compact evidencing the meeting of qualifications for the practice of certain medical services… shall be deemed licensed to practice in Oklahoma... " - Office of Governor J. Kevin Stitt (3/17/20)

Oklahoma - Regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicles providing assistance for relief

"This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations that are providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks…" - Office of Governor J. Kevin Stitt (3/17/20)

Oregon - Renewal of medical licenses

"Nik Blosser, Gov. Brown's chief of staff, said the state would immediately take steps to expand the health care workforce, by automatically renewing the license of any medical professional whose license had recently expired, for instance." - KGW8, NBC (3/16/20)

Pennsylvania - Licensed Health Care Practitioners Can Provide Telemedicine Services to Pennsylvanians During Coronavirus Emergency

"Health care professionals licensed under any of the Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) licensing boards can provide services to patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/18/20)

Pennsylvania - Issuance of Temporary Licenses to Health Care Practitioners to be Expedited During Coronavirus Emergency

"Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request for a suspension to allow expedited temporary licensure to practitioners in other states to provide services to Pennsylvanians, for the duration of the coronavirus emergency." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/18/20)

Pennsylvania - Certain regulations suspended for Nurse-Midwives

"Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request to allow the suspension of certain regulations concerning Certified Nurse Midwives. The Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs identified several regulations that could limit or delay the number of available practitioners to provide much-needed assistance." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/20/20)

Pennsylvania - Medical Doctors’ Two-Facility Institutional License Limit Suspended During Coronavirus Emergency

"In order to increase the number of practitioners available to respond to COVID-19, Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request to suspend the limitations on the number of institutions with which a medical doctor can be affiliated and the requirement to report those affiliations to the Board of Medicine for the duration of the disaster declaration. The Governor has suspended the institutional-license requirement that limits qualified medical doctors to practicing at no more than two (2) affiliated facilities." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/20/20)

Pennsylvania - In-Person Requirement Suspended for Court Reporters

"Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request to suspend the requirement for physical presence of notaries who are court reporters/stenographers participating in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings in this Commonwealth." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/21/20)

Pennsylvania - Waives Some Nurse Licensing Requirements to Aid Coronavirus Response

"The Department of State has waived certain administrative requirements for nurses, including temporarily extending license expiration dates and waiving associated fees during the coronavirus emergency." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/21/20)

Pennsylvania - Some Continuing-Education Restrictions Suspended for Licensed Professionals

"Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request to suspend restrictions on distance-learning for continuing-education requirements for certain licensed professionals." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/22/20)

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Suspends Certain Licensure Requirements for State Board of Psychology, and State Board of Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Professional Counselors

"In order to increase the number of health-care practitioners available to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, Governor Wolf has granted the Department of State’s request to suspend some licensing requirements related to psychology; social work, marriage and family therapy and professional counselors." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/22/20)

Pennsylvania - Some License Requirements for Qualified Physicians Assistants Are Suspended During Coronavirus Emergency

"In order to allow physician assistants practicing under the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine to more easily and effectively assist with emergency response efforts to COVID-19, Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request to suspend requirements pertaining to written agreements and several other items." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/22/20)

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Expands Access to Pharmacy Services

"The Wolf administration is removing barriers for pharmacies to provide services for Pennsylvanians in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Governor Wolf has granted a request from the Pennsylvania Department of State to suspend certain pharmacy regulations to enable more flexible and available services during the coronavirus emergency." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/22/20)

Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania to Allow Retired Health Care Professionals to Bolster COVID-19 Response

"In order to increase the number of health care practitioners available to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and to ensure continuity of patient care and services, Governor Wolf has granted the Department of State’s request to suspend some licensing and regulatory requirements that will allow individuals in the healthcare field who have inactive licenses or have allowed their Pennsylvania license to expire, to seek reactivation and immediately resume work within their scope of practice, provided their inactive or expired license is/was in good standing." - Pennsylvania Department of State (3/25/20)

South Carolina - Issuing of “emergency” nursing and medical licenses to combat COVID-19    

"The state medical board can expedite temporary licensure for out-of-state physicians, physician assistants and respiratory care practitioners within 24 hours... There will be no fee." - Office of Governor Henry McMaster (3/14/20) 

Tennessee - Established interstate reciprocity for health care professionals    

Gov. Bill Lee lifted licensing requirements for health care professionals to allow them to provide "localized treatment of patients in temporary residences." He is now allowing health care professionals who are licensed in another state to engage in the practice of their profession in Tennessee. - Executive Order by Governor Bill Lee (3/12/20)

Tennessee - Waiving child care licensure requirements    

"Related rules are hereby suspended to the extent necessary to give the Commissioner of Human Services the discretion to waive the child care licensure requirements, including requirements concerning capacity, care categories, grouping, license transfers, and drop-in centers, if necessary to respond to the effects of COVID-19." - Executive Order by Governor Bill Lee (3/12/20)

Tennessee - Suspends many requirements of transporting medical supplies

"The provisions... that set forth maximum height, length, and width limitations are hereby suspended in the case of vehicles participating in the response to COVID-19, subject to the following conditions: a vehicle must be transporting emergency supplies, equipment, or mobile structures to affected areas." - Executive Order by Governor Bill Lee (3/12/20)

Tennessee - Allow testing for COVID-19 at alternative sites without prior approval from medical board

"The provisions of Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1200-06-03-.16 are suspended to allow testing for COVID-19 at alternate testing sites without prior approval by the Medical Laboratory Board; provided, that laboratories shall notify the Medical Laboratory Board of any such alternate testing sites." - Executive Order by Governor Bill Lee (3/12/20)

Texas - Alcohol and groceries allowed in the same delivery truck    

"Governor Greg Abbott lifted the restriction that forbid trucks from delivering both alcohol and groceries in the same truck." - KXXV (3/15/20)

Texas - Allowing the delivery of alcohol    

Under this waiver, restaurants with a mixed beverage permit will immediately be able to sell beer, wine, or mixed drinks for delivery "as long as they are accompanied by food purchased from the restaurant." - Office of Governor Greg Abbott (3/18/20)

Texas - Fast-tracking the temporary licensing of out-of-state physicians, physician assistants, certain retired physicians, nurses, and other license types    

"Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and the Texas Board of Nursing (TBN) to fast-track the temporary licensing of out-of-state physicians, physician assistants, certain retired physicians, nurses, and other license types to assist in Texas' response to COVID-19." - Office of Governor Greg Abbott (3/14/20)

Virginia  - Reducing driver training school regulations to minimize customer contact

Virginia will "minimize customer contact during driver training at Class B Virginia Driver Training Schools by: Waiving the two-student minimum requirement under the Virginia Driver Training Schools Regulations; Waiving the student-to-student observation periods during in-vehicle instruction; and Allowing one-on-one in-vehicle instruction." - Office of Governor Ralph Northam (3/17/20)

Virginia - Suspend Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections, typically required for every vehicle registered in the state

"I direct the Virginia Department of State Police (VSP) to undertake the following measure: Suspend the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections (MVSI) required under § 46.2-1157 of the Code of Virginia." - Office of Governor Ralph Northam (3/19/20)

Virginia - Lifted "Certificate of Need" law regarding hospital beds

""That order lifts our certificate of public need restrictions, so that our health commissioner can give hospitals and nursing homes the authority to add the beds they need without going through red tape," Northam said, during a Saturday morning press briefing. "They can act quickly to respond to the needs in this fast-changing situation."" - Patch (3/21/20)

Washington - Allows for out-of-state licensed professional to volunteer in Washington    

"Under RCW 70.15.050, while an emergency proclamation of the Governor is in effect, a volunteer health practitioner who is licensed in another state may practice in Washington without obtaining a Washington license if he or she is in good standing in all states of licensure and is registered in the volunteer health practitioner system." - Washington Department of Health (3/2020)

Washington, DC - Allowing the delivery of alcohol    

"The bill passed at the most recent meeting has… allowed for delivery and carry-out sales by restaurants of beer/wine, if sold along with prepared food (pending written restaurant-by-restaurant approval by the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration)." - Council of the District of Columbia (3/17/20)

Suspended local rules and regulations:

Los Angeles, CA - Allowing restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages for delivery or takeout

The order modified "any and all City of Los Angeles regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages to “allow (i) sales of alcoholic beverages by restaurants for off-site consumption are hereby permitted for delivery and take-out and (ii) sales, by retail stores, of alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption, including deliveries and extended sales hours, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily." - Office of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti (3/23/20)

Los Angeles, CA - Relaxes parking restrictions on commercial vehicles

The order also provides that, “Parking enforcement will be relaxed and an extended grace period will be given to vehicles owned and operated by employees or employers who are engaged in manufacturing or healthcare activities listed as essential under the March 15, 2020 Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority and located in permanent or temporary industrial, manufacturing, or commercial zones of the City of Los Angeles.” - Office of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti (3/23/20)

West Fargo, ND - Allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol curbside, to-go and with delivery orders

"Any sale of sealed cans or bottles of alcoholic beverages to customers taking delivery of prepared food from a restaurant within the City, also licensed to serve on-sale alcoholic beverages by way of “take-out,” “curbside delivery,” “drive-through,” or by other lawful means of delivery shall be deemed to be “on-sale” service or sale of such alcoholic beverages. Delivery of prepared food without any accompanied sale of alcoholic beverages may be delivered by agents or third party delivery services. Employees who deliver alcoholic beverages must be at least twenty-one (21) years old and be able to provide proof of age if asked by the City of West Fargo." - City of West Fargo (3/25/20)

Fargo, ND - Allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol curbside, to-go and with delivery orders

"The Fargo City Commission has approved the curbside, to-go sale and delivery of alcohol within Fargo city limits for a period of 30 days beginning Monday, March 23." - Valley News (3/23/20)

This list will be updated constantly as rules continue to be suspended. If you know of a rule suspension not included above, please send to ideas@atr.org

 

Photo Credit: MarylandGovPics


Canadian Court Rules Trudeau's Carbon Tax Unconstitutional

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, February 28th, 2020, 10:20 AM PERMALINK

Declaring Trudeau's carbon tax an unconstitutional, wholesale takeover of provincial rights, the Court of Appeal of Alberta struck down the controversial law in a 4-1 decision. The carbon tax (formally, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act) mandates minimum national standards for carbon pricing of commodities and activities that produce greenhouse gasses.

In the 2017-2018 school year, this law cost one school district in Canada $3.3 million, forcing them to kick nearly 400 students off buses. The Calgary Herald reported

"... fewer buses have meant fewer stops, longer commutes and more difficult schedules for families. Many students have also been transferred to public transit.

Busing has been such a challenge for families, adjusting to schedules. It’s a bit challenging that we’re in a situation where we’ve had to remove almost 400 students from buses in order to pay for the carbon tax in addition to the other impacts on the organization."

Trudeau's government defended the constitutionality of the law on one basis only: “It falls within the national concern doctrine of Parliament’s peace, order and good government (POGG) power.” 

The POGG doctrine, or the national concern doctrine, allows Parliament “to make Laws for the Peace, Order and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces.” 

This doctrine has only been invoked six times in the country’s history—three times successfully. In this case, even with the arbitrary nature of that specific passage, the court found that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act violates that passage and others, as it is a “wholesale takeover of a collection of clear provincial jurisdictions and rights.”

The Constitution Acts of Canada specifically says that each province may exclusively make laws in relation to...

(a) exploration for non-renewable natural resources in the province;

(b) development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province, including laws in relation to the rate of primary production therefrom; and;

(c) development, conservation and management of sites and facilities in the province for the generation and production of electrical energy.

In this way, the Constitution Acts appear to clearly prohibit a federal mandate on provinces regarding laws that only the legislatures of the provinces have the authority to pass. 

This brings up an interesting aspect of the carbon tax debate in the United States that often goes undiscussed. A national carbon tax would have severe impacts on states themselves. The CBO estimated that a carbon tax would increase direct and indirect energy costs to federal, state, and local governments by 13 to 14%. This covers compliance costs, not even accounting for the inevitable costs of revenue and growth shrinkage. According to the Institute for Energy Research, this puts a huge burden on the states to pay for the federal government’s mistake: they would likely have to raise taxes, cut spending, or demand revenue sharing from the federal government. 

Though carbon tax supporters have spent years claiming sizable and growing public support for a carbon tax, voters have regularly rejected the policy. Once the real, dire implications of a carbon tax start to settle in voters' minds, surface-level support for such a policy crumbles.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, explains it this way:

“A carbon tax raises the cost of gasoline for your car, your home heating and conditioning and hikes the cost of living. Voters throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and France have sent the same message: NO to any energy tax/carbon tax. Rarely has any policy proposal been so thoroughly tested and rejected over time and by voters around the world.”

This kind of policy has intrusive, anti-federalist implications no matter where it is implemented.

The Court of Appeal of Alberta described Trudeau's national carbon tax this way: 

“The Act is a constitutional Trojan horse. Buried within it are wide ranging discretionary powers the federal government has reserved unto itself. Their final shape, substance and outer limits have not yet been revealed.”

Photo Credit: Government of Alberta


Michael Bloomberg is Running to Become America's Nanny

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Always be wary of politicians who want to control individuals’ behavior for the sake of their “well-being.” The prevalence of these paternalistic policies create what we call a “Nanny State.” Any policy created under this rationale must be based on this assumption: politicians know how to live your life better than you do. 

Ronald Reagan once said: ‘‘Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.’’

The position of humility is the non-interventionist one: people should decide how they want to live their lives and reap the benefits, or consequences, of those decisions. The idea that the government should become an intermediary between your decisions and the subsequent effects makes null our value in responsibility and accountability.

Among the 2020 Democratic candidates, former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg stands out as one of the biggest proponents of the Nanny State.

In a 2018 interview with Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg contested that taxing the poor helps them live longer and "deal with themselves."

Bloomberg: "Some people say, well, taxes are regressive... That's the good thing about them because the problem is in people that don't have a lot of money. And so, higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves. So, I listen to people saying 'oh we don't want to tax the poor.’ Well, we want the poor to live longer so that they can get an education and enjoy life. And that's why you do want to do exactly what a lot of people say you don't want to do... Taxes or life? Which do you want to do? Take your poison."

Here are just a few more examples of the paternalistic policies Bloomberg championed as mayor:

1. The Infamous Soda Ban 

Michael Bloomberg proposed the sugary drinks portion cap rule, or the “soda ban,” on May 30, 2012. This proposed amendment would have barred restaurants, movie theaters, food carts, and other businesses subject to NYC Board of Health regulation from selling sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces. The rule made its way through the courts to eventually be found unconstitutional. The New York Court of Appeals found that the New York City Board of Health exceeded “the scope of its regulatory authority,” in implementing this rule. 

The New York City Council passed the Women's Restroom Equity Bill with Mayor Bloomberg’s support. This bill establishes a 2-to-1 ratio for women's restrooms in new public venues like bars, restaurants, and concert halls.

Yvette D. Clarke, the bill's chief sponsor, explained that women are conditioned to expect restroom lines; she called this "degrading."

3. Banning Trans Fats from Restaurants

In 2006, New York City’s Board of Health, under the direction of Mayor Bloomberg, banned artificial trans fats from all of the city’s restaurants. 

At the time, “restaurant industry representatives called the ban burdensome and unnecessary.” 

The Bloomberg administration implemented a measure to force chain restaurants (with 15 or more outlets in New York City or across the country) to display calorie information on their menus or menu boards.

A study done at the NYU Langone Medical Center found that the amount of calories consumed at NYC restaurants with calorie displays was statistically the same as those without calorie displays. 

5. A War on Salt

In 2010, the Bloomberg administration unveiled a broad health initiative aimed at pressuring food manufacturers and restaurant chains to diminish the amount of salt in their products.

The administration went so far as to ban food donations to homeless shelters because they couldn't assess the sodium levels in the donated foods.

Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg’s biggest “accomplishment,” New York City banned smoking in commercial establishments like bars and restaurants in 2003, even if those establishments had allowed it themselves. In 2011, NYC banned smoking in city parks, on beaches, boardwalks, and in pedestrian plazas. Citing the danger of “second-hand smoke” as the reason for these policies, Mayor Bloomberg argued that they were necessary to improve public health. 

Ironically, in 2013, Mayor Bloomberg rushed through a law to extend the NYC Smoke-Free Air Act to include e-cigarettes. The use of e-cigs is now forbidden in indoor and outdoor locations wherever smoking is banned. E-cigarettes do not release any second-hand (or first-hand) smoke. 

Mayor Bloomberg signed a city-wide ban on flavored tobacco products into law in 2009. The legislation covers “chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice flavors,” but exempts “tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors.”

The federal ban, at the time, was limited to cigarettes; Bloomberg extended this ban to cigars and smokeless tobacco in New York City.

In 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for legislation to make New York the first U.S. city to require stores to conceal tobacco products. This legislation would require that tobacco products be kept in cabinets, under the counter, behind a curtain, or somewhere else concealed from consumers’ eyes. 

Mayor Bloomberg facilitated a 2013 campaign to encourage teens and young adults to turn down the music on their headphones. This campaign cost the city of New York $250,000. 

The Mayor also led the effort to prohibit any commercial music sources from exceeding 45 decibels as measured in a residence.

As the New York Post explains, “The Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will target teens and young adults, conducting focus-group interviews and using social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Bloomberg has had a bug about ear-splitting rackets since taking office at City Hall, making noise reduction one of his key quality-of-life initiatives.”

In 2006, Mayor Bloomberg implemented a city-wide ban on cellphones in New York City public schools. CBS News reported students dismantling their phones to get past metal detectors at school and hiding their phones in areas where they knew school officials would not pat them down. Overall, parents were infuriated by the ban, “insisting they need to stay in touch with their children in case of another crisis like Sept. 11.”

In the face of all of this anger, Mayor Bloomberg refused to drop the ban, claiming that cellphones are distractions used to cheat, take inappropriate photos in the bathroom, and organize gang rendezvous. 

Despite Bloomberg’s suspicions, students are probably just scrolling through their Instagram feeds. Most schools take an "out-of-sight, out-of-trouble" approach.

Our government exists to ensure each of us lives safely and freely. A small group of politicians in Washington or a city council, for that matter, has no business deciding how life should be lived by the masses. 

It is not the government’s job to dictate need, nor mandate our priorities. Bloomberg’s violations of human autonomy were objectionable when done in New York City. If done on the national level, his policies would be devastating.

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr


Norquist: This is the 401k Election

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, February 11th, 2020, 10:19 AM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist joined Stuart Varney on Fox Business Network's Varney & Co.  on Monday to discuss Tax Cuts 2.0 and the 2020 Democratic candidates' policy proposals. 

Norquist pointed out that all of the Democrats' proposed fiscal policies would roll back the growth we've seen under the current administration and make Americans' life savings worth less. 

Norquist said: 

"Everything the Democrats want to do—everything—will make your 401k worth less. This is the 401k/IRA election because the President's policies have made your life savings worth significantly more than you expected.

So, efforts to cut taxes and expand the availability of 401k/IRA-style savings remind people, not only how well you've done, but that we can do better... The Democrats will take away that which gave us this growth and this comeback."

Click here to watch the interview.


Bernie Sanders Wants to Impose National Rent Control

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, January 24th, 2020, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants to impose national rent control. He unveiled the policy proposal last September and reiterated his support via Twitter on January 19.

Specifically, Bernie Sanders proposes a national cap on annual rent increases to 1.5 times the rate of inflation or 3 percent—whichever is higher.

Ironically, the article Sanders tweeted out attributes the cause of higher rent prices, in part, to government control over the private housing market. This simply reinforces what many economists already know to be true: the left’s prescriptions for lowering housing prices are precisely what keeps prices high and supply low.

"Some dumb ideas are new. Rent control is an old, dumb idea. Price controls have failed for thousands of years," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

A national rent control scheme would have the following effects:

1. It would be a flagrant infringement of American property rights and a vast expansion of the federal government's control over the private housing market. 

The government should have no role in determining rental costs. All governments are ill-equipped to consider the many visible and invisible factors that determine the market price of a rental property.

What enforcement mechanisms would come down on the American people under a national rent control bureaucracy? If a local landlord, for whatever reason, fails to comply with the new federal standard, what kind of punishment would ensue? Might the IRS garnish his wages? Would federal law enforcement lock down his property? Would he be fined out of business? Put in jail? The reason why none of that passes the smell test is because none of it feels like it's an appropriate use of the federal government's power nor is it even within the scope of power that the government ought to operate in.

2. National rent control would require the creation of an elaborate bureaucracy with substantial administrative costs. 

Enforcing rent control requires an elaborate bureaucracy—especially on a national level. In Santa Monica, the Rent Control Board in 1996 had a $4 million a year budget for enforcing rents on only 28,000 apartments. This fiscal year, San Francisco's Rent Arbitration Board can expect to bring in over $5 million. The system only gets more complicated as it grows. The National Multifamily Housing Council explains, “Rental property must be registered; detailed information on the rental property must be collected; and elaborate systems for determining rents and hearing complaints and appeals must be established.”

3. It would reduce housing supply across the country. 

Evidence shows the 1994 rent-control expansion in San Francisco actually led to landlords converting their properties to condos or a Tenancy in Common, both of which are exempt from rent control. This is reflected by a 15 percent decline in the number of renters living in these buildings and a 25 percent reduction in the number of renters living in rent-controlled units. Instead of encouraging affordable housing, the government incentivized conversion away from it.

Rent control discourages the construction of new rental housing, even when controls don't apply to new developments. Investors anticipate future policy changes that would subject their developments to similar, pricey controls. 

This is why in Cambridge, Mass., when rent control was abolished, economists found that direct dollar investments in housing units doubled in just a few years. This led to an increase in housing supply. According to a Cato Institute policy analysis by William Tucker, non-rent-controlled cities have normal vacancy rates at or above 7 percent, while rent-controlled cities experience vacancy rates at around 5 percent.This speaks to a central problem with rent control: its tendency to suppress housing supply. This creates severe, visible consequences: restricted housing options and even homelessness.

4. It would increase rent prices across the country. 

The San Francisco study also found that, as a result of rent control, there was a city-wide rent price increase of 5.1 percent. A study of New York City’s 1968 rental market found that rents in noncontrolled units were 22 percent –25 percent higher than they would have been without the presence of rent control.

Landlords, as a way to make up for their inability to increase rents once a tenant moves in, will set rents artificially high in their initial contracts with tenants. Also, because of existing tenants’ depressed rents, many will stay in apartments for longer than they otherwise would. This reduces the housing supply for other potential tenants; specifically, the supply of rent-controlled units. This increases the prices of non-controlled housing units, which often become the only option for a number of people. 

5) It would reduce the quality of tenant housing.

Hendrix of the Manhattan Institute points out that, under rent control, landlords have a limited ability to "recoup operational costs and investments through rents or an appreciation of their building’s value." Also, because they cannot raise rents, there's little incentive to improve their properties, as they will not see a payoff for building improvements. 

In the aftermath of price controls in Cambridge, Mass., housing units were described as “older, in worse condition, and more in need of very essential repairs.” Once rent control was abolished in the city in 2004, "property investments rose 20% over what would have been the case under rent control and led to major improvements in housing quality."

6) It would harm disadvantaged groups. 

Michael Hendrix of the Manhattan Institute explained that all the savings associated with rent control are offset by the increased costs of non-controlled housing units. However, those who benefit from rent control are disproportionately white, affluent renters. Hendrix notes, "White renters in 2017 claimed a 36% discount on market-rate rents in New York City because of rent control, compared with 17% for Hispanic renters and 16% for black renters; affluent renters received a 39% discount. The city’s rent-control and rent-stabilization laws have apparently induced landlords to favor older tenants and smaller households (primarily those without children), and rent control’s benefits are similarly biased against young people and larger families." 

Rent control hurts the very people it aims to help. It restrains consumers’ ability to find a place that works for them. As a consequence, the housing market in rent-controlled cities is defined by dissatisfaction, maddening trade-offs, and paycheck-consuming prices.

If rent control on the local level causes increases in rent prices and limits housing supply, it’s not hard to imagine just how severe the effects would be on a national scale, when the federal government tries to impose Manhattan-type rent control policy on Thurmond, W. Va.

Even the socialist Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck said, “In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city – except for bombing.”


Grover Norquist On California's Latest Attempt to Raise Taxes

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, January 17th, 2020, 1:06 PM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist joined Connell McShane on Fox Business Network's After the Bell to discuss California latest tax hike attempt, which could lead to the nation's highest state corporate income tax rate.

The bill would increase taxes on companies that post at least $10 million of taxable income. The size of the tax increase would be proportional to the pay gap between the CEO and employees. The larger the gap, the larger the tax increase.

Norquist responded: 

"It's a massive tax increase. California has an 8.8 percent corporate income tax on top of the 21 percent national, federal tax. They want to take that up to 11 to 15 percent. So it's a massive tax increase to start with. But then they go, "Oh, but we'll hit you even more if you don't pay people the way we want you to."

Boards of Directors are responsible and shareholders are responsible for firing any CEO who overpays himself or herself. It shouldn't be the government's decision to tell you. Sometimes, somebody who's a CEO can be worth a lot of money, sometimes not... If you want to be in the business of setting pay, vote as a shareholder, work in the business of owning part of the company. The people who should care are the people who own it. They don't want to waste money. They don't want to waste millions of dollars on a CEO that's not any good."

California's brutal tax and regulatory environment continues to drive people and companies out of the state. State politicians don't seem to know or care.

Click here to watch the interview.


Debate Tonight: What the 2020 Dems Won't Tell You About How Trump Tax Cuts are Helping Iowa

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Tonight in Des Moines, the Democratic candidates will trash the Trump tax cuts. However, listed below are examples of how the tax cuts are helping Iowa households and businesses: 

Doubled child tax credit: 243,620 Iowa households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit. The Trump tax cuts doubled the child tax credit from $1,000 per child to $2,000 per child.

Standard deduction: 1,008,940 Iowa households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. The Trump tax cuts doubled the standard deduction from $6,000 to $12,000 for individuals, and from $12,000 to $24,000 for married couples. Thanks to the Trump tax cuts, nine out of ten households now take the standard deduction which reduces their tax burden and simplifies the tax filing process.

Obamacare individual mandate tax relief: 38,430 Iowa households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Tax cut: Every income group in every Iowa congressional district saw a tax cut.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate rate cut, Iowa residents are paying lower utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households each month, and also help small businesses operating on slim profit margins. Iowa examples of utilities passing on tax savings to customers include – but are not limited to Global Water Services, Iowa American Water Co., and MidAmerican Energy Company.

Thanks to the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut – from 35 percent to 21 percent – and the TCJA’s 20 percent tax cut for small businesses, employers of all sizes are hiring, expanding, increasing pay and benefits, and paying special tax-cut bonuses:

Geetings, Inc. (Pella, Iowa) -- Was able to purchase new semitrailers and give employees raises because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

When small business owners anticipated how much they would save in taxes under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many reinvested those savings in their businesses and their employees. 

Lana Pol, who owns several small businesses including Geetings, Inc., a transportation firm in Pella, says she gave employees raises and purchased six new semitrailers. -- June 3, 2019 Des Moines Register

Smokey Row Coffee Shops (Des Moines, Iowa) --  Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the company is planning to open two new stores.  

When small business owners anticipated how much they would save in taxes under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many reinvested those savings in their businesses and their employees.

...

Butch Hayes, of Smokey Row Coffee Shops, is planning to open two new stores. -- June 3, 2019 Des Moines Register

Anfinson Farm Store (Cushing, Iowa) -- $1,000 bonuses and 5% pay raises for employees:

Anfinson Farm Store, a family business in Cushing, Iowa (population 223), has awarded $1,000 bonuses and raised wages 5% for all full-time employees as a result of tax reform. The good news was delivered to employees in person just after Christmas.

In an interview with Americans for Tax Reform, store owner John Anfinson said tax reform will boost “money that will be available for the business overall and I want to use it in the right places.”

Anfinson has helmed the store for about 45 years. His grandfather started the business as a general store in 1918, so they will soon celebrate 100 years of operation. His customers chiefly grow corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.

“For us, we have a small number of employees. I work every day shoulder to shoulder with everyone,” said Anfinson. “When you work every day with a group of people, you know them and their family and you appreciate everything they do. I value them and the interest they take in our customers. They are the most valuable asset in any business.” Jan. 9, 2018 Americans for Tax Reform blog post

Mowbility Sales & Service (Pella, Iowa) – The owner said that she was able to save around $40,000 from the tax bill, which allowed her to give employees raises and purchase new semitrailers:

Lana Pol’s small businesses are enjoying big savings under the new tax law — at least for now.

The entrepreneur runs four small companies across Iowa, including Mowbility Sales & Service, which sells agricultural equipment, and Geetings Inc., a trucking and warehousing business. Pol said she saw a drop in her overall tax burden this year thanks to the qualified business deduction, a change made to the individual tax code, available for pass-through entities. Her savings look substantial.

“We’re estimating around up to $40,000,” Pol said. “By utilizing that, we gave our employees raises, knowing that was going to help us for taxes this year.”

Pol said she also utilized Section 179 expensing to write off a major purchase of new semitrailers — six in all, totaling $1 million. Taxes were often a top issue prior to reform, she said.  March 18, 2017, CNBC article.

Keg Creek Brewing (Glenwood, Iowa) - Expanding operations, purchasing new equipment:

“A small brewery in Glenwood, Iowa, in Mills County called Keg Creek is expanding their operations and investing in new equipment as they grow.” - June 11, 2018, Rep. David Young statement on U.S. House Floor

Mississippi River Distilling Co. (Le Claire, Iowa) – The owners of the distillery said that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped create new jobs:

Both Quint and Ryan Burchett, co-owner of Mississippi River Distilling Co. in Le Claire, said the tax cut — formally called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act — has helped their businesses add full- and part-time jobs. 

Cedar Ridge currently has 24 full-time and 28 part-time employees and, Quint said, now that he’s “optimistic” the liquor tax cut will be extended, he plans to make two new job offers over the next two weeks.

Burchett said Mississippi River Distilling had three full-time and five part-time employees in 2017, before Congress approved the liquor tax cut as part of the broader Tax Cuts and Jobs Act– Dec. 18, 2019, The Gazette article.

Dyersville Die Cast (Dyersville, Iowa) - $200 bonus for all eligible full-time employees; $50 monthly bonus for at least twelve months for all eligible full-time employees; $150,000 in total on bonuses:

“Dyersville Die Cast employees will be getting bonuses thanks to the recently passed tax reform bill.

Full-time employees who were with the company prior to Oct. 1, 2017 will receive a $200 bonus on March 9. But, that’s not all.

All full-time, hourly employees will also be receiving $50 monthly bonuses for at least the next 12 months.

In addition, employees will still receive their regular “profit bonus” in June, according to General Manager Bob Willets.

The big news is thanks to that fact that Dyersville Die Cast is slated to save approximately $200,000 thanks to the new tax law, and have decided to dole out $150,000 of that to its workers” – Feb. 21 2018, Dyersville Commercial article excerpt

Pattison Sand Company (Clayton, Iowa): $600 cash bonuses, base pay raised by $1.50-$2.50 per hour:

“Last fall, Congressman Rod Blum visited our mine in Clayton County. He met many of our people and saw for himself what we do every day. We told him about the high costs of over-taxation and over-regulation. He listened. He did his part, taking our message back to Washington. He fought for real tax reform that will bring our business taxes in line with other industrialized countries. More importantly it will mean more take home pay for our people. He is also working put more common sense into federal regulations. We did our part too. We gave every employee a $600 cash (in $2 bills) bonus and we raised base pay by $1.50-$2.50 an hour. And yes we are growing, adding staff and buying more equipment. We thought you should know.” – The Waterloo- Cedar Falls Courier

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