Which State Agency Is Nebraska’s Biggest Regulator?

If you were tasked to read all of the regulations in Nebraska’s Administrative Code, what do you think you’d find? Aside from finding yourself out of over ten weeks of your life,  probably nothing you or I would easily comprehend.

Thankfully, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has done the job for us, measuring the regulatory language on the books in Nebraska. In addition to identifying the most regulated industries in the state, the research uncovered which state agencies are responsible for enforcing these regulations.

As a result, we now know for certain that the single-biggest state regulator is Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and it leaves all other departments in the dust. 
 

Take a look at the image below.

The table shows the top ten largest regulators in Nebraska, and the gap between the departments is dramatic. To put it into perspective, DHHS is responsible for 37,592 regulatory restrictions out of a total of 100,627 in the Nebraska Administrative Code.

This is 37 percent, or more than one-third, of all restrictions within Nebraska.

The next largest department is the Department of Environmental Quality at 8,565 restrictions, or 8.5 percent of all restrictions.

This is a huge difference and begs the question: why is it like this? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is, “we don’t know yet.”

This is what the Platte Institute will aim to find out using the data from this research. Along with general regulation, a large part of these restrictions may be tied to occupational licensure. Just within DHHS, regulations target Substance Abuse CounselorsAudiologists, and Cosmetologists, among other professionsals.

The Platte Institute has fought to remove unnecessary barriers in these careers, and this study by the Mercatus Center provides an opportunity to go even further. Combined with the governor’s recent executive order, interest in regulatory reform is growing and will give Nebraska workers a leg-up in their career with less red tape.

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Posted by: Luke Ashton

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