A Fresh Start: How to Address Regulations Suspended During the Coronavirus Crisis

9 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2020

See all articles by Adam D. Thierer

Adam D. Thierer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Matthew D. Mitchell

Fraser Institute; Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation; Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 15, 2020

Abstract

As the COVID-19 crisis intensified, policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels started suspending or rescinding laws and regulations that hindered sensible, speedy responses to the pandemic. These “rule departures” raised many questions. Were the paused rules undermining public health and welfare even before the crisis? Even if the rules were well intentioned or once possibly served a compelling interest, had they grown unnecessary or counterproductive? If so, why did they persist? How will the suspended rules be dealt with after the crisis? Are there other rules on the books that might transform from merely unnecessary to actively harmful in future crises?

Once the COVID-19 crisis subsides, there is likely to be considerable momentum to review the rules that have slowed down the response. If policymakers felt the need to abandon these rules during the current crisis, those same rules should probably be permanently repealed or at least comprehensively reformed to allow for more flexible responses in the future.

Accordingly, when the pandemic subsides, policymakers at the federal and state levels should create “Fresh Start Initiatives” that would comprehensively review all suspended rules and then outline sunsetting or reform options for them. To this end, we propose an approach based on the successful experience of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.

Keywords: regulation, reform, health, policy, tradeoffs, BRAC, commission, regulatory, license, licensing, coronavirus, virus, outbreak, CON

Suggested Citation

Thierer, Adam D. and Mitchell, Matthew D. and McLaughlin, Patrick A., A Fresh Start: How to Address Regulations Suspended During the Coronavirus Crisis (April 15, 2020). Mercatus Center Policy Brief Special Edition, 2020 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3577631

Adam D. Thierer (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Matthew D. Mitchell

Fraser Institute ( email )

1770 Burrard Street
4th Floor
Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 3G7
Canada

Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation ( email )

P.O. Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://meractus.org

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
(703) 993-9670 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.patrickamclaughlin.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
49
Abstract Views
380
PlumX Metrics