LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts ordered a review of all state regulations Thursday and told state agencies to stop making new rules unless they’re deemed critical to the public’s health, safety and welfare.

Ricketts signed an executive order to launch the review by a working group that includes a state senator-appointed department heads. Every state agency will conduct its own review and must submit a report to the governor’s office by Nov. 15.

Ricketts said he wants to see whether his administration can eliminate or change certain regulations, as long as it doesn’t compromise public safety. His order does not affect regulations mandated by state law.

“Is this regulation something that has been analyzed to ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits?” he said at a news conference.

Ricketts said the state should constantly look for ways to create a business-friendly environment and argued that regulations hinder Nebraska’s economic growth.

His announcement coincided with the release of a report by the Mercatus Center, a privately-funded free market think tank at George Mason University with ties to Republican billionaire donor Charles Koch. The report found that Nebraska’s most regulated industries are ambulatory health care services, nursing homes and residential care facilities and chemical manufacturers.

James Broughel, a research fellow at the center, said periodic reviews of regulations are necessary because industries frequently lobby the government for rules to stifle competition.

Broughel said Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky are conducting similar reviews of their rules, and Massachusetts finished a similar analysis a few years ago.

Broughel said his group’s initial review suggests that Nebraska is doing a good job of controlling regulatory burdens when compared to other states, but argued that the state could do more.

Sen. John Murante of Gretna, who will serve on the working group, said he hopes the review will help streamline services “to reduce the size and scope of government.”

The other members of the working group are Department of Banking and Finance Director Mark Quandahl, Department of Revenue Director Tony Fulton and Department of Health and Human Services Chief Operating Officer Bo Botelho. Quandahl and Fulton are former Republican state senators. Murante, also a Republican, serves as chairman of the Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.


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GRANT SCHULTE
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