On regulation review, Raimondo got a little help from a friend
During her gubernatorial campaign, Gina Raimondo pledged to review all state regulations, not over the course of her term, but within her first year.
Her campaign website told voters: "As governor, Gina will: Review all of the state's regulations within her first year of office, and eliminate overly burdensome or duplicative rules."
This was not a small promise.
Rhode Island has more than 1,400 regulations under the governor's control. In some cases, a single regulation can have hundreds of pages of codified details attached to it, according to her staff. One member of the administration estimates there are 26,000 pages of regulations.
Raimondo hired Erik Godwin to direct the Office of Regulatory Reform and manage the review.
Godwin, 43, had directed a regulatory analysis group at Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University. His previous work included a stint as a regulatory analyst in the administration of President Bill Clinton.
At the Office of Regulatory Reform Godwin discovered the previous administration, under Lincoln Chafee, had already set up a database containing the regulations and had made 250 changes, including the repeal of 40 regulations through the Office of Regulatory Reform.
So Godwin had a leg up on his task.
He and others went to work on the database, and by Sept. 1 they had completed a preliminary review of all "executive branch regulations" — the 1,430 regulations that are under the control of the governor's office.
The database, which Godwin showed us, includes each regulation, along with notes. It's probably the best evidence that the office has already completed the review of regulations that Raimondo promised.
Still, that's a lot of reading, especially when you consider all of the underlying code.
The Raimondo administration acknowledges that Godwin, the governor and, other staff members haven't read every piece of code associated with every regulation. That would be tall order in a year.
Instead, Godwin and his staff have relied, in many cases, on people within the government with knowledge of the codes, to make sure the administration didn't miss anything.
In addition, the office compared Rhode Island's regulations with Massachusetts and Connecticut regulations and, within the state, reached out to municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, trade associations and others to gather information on any troublesome regulations.
The work has already gotten some results. The administration took action to eliminate requirements for 30 professional licenses.
"I believe there are lots of problems," Godwin says, that the administration can fix now that the review is complete.
In conclusion, Godwin readily credits the Chafee administration for its work. "It made it easier," he said, "because we had a lot of the data on each regulation already prepared."
"We had a terrific foundation with which to start," he said.
The result is that Raimondo has kept her promise.
Interview, RIPEC Executive Director John C. Simmons, Nov. 10, 2015
Email from Governor Raimondo's spokeswoman, Marie Aberger, Nov. 12.
Governor.Ri.Gov, Executive Order 15-07, "Improving Rhode Island's Regulatory Climate to Create Opportunity," Feb. 17, 2015.
Interview, Erik Godwin, director of state Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR), Nov. 12.
Interview, Derrick Pelletier, chief of Research and Analysis, ORR, Nov. 12.
Press release, "Godwin to lead the Office of Regulatory Reform, Jan. 30, 2015.