A newsletter covering regulatory reform efforts in Washington and across America, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org/.
Issue #41 * May 24,1996 * David A. Ridenour, Editor
Freshman Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) has introduced a bill to return the power -- and the responsibility -- for legislating to Congress. The measure, the Congressional Responsibility Act (H.R. 2727), would require Congress to approve all regulations promulgated by federal agencies before they are allowed to take effect. Unlike a regulatory review measure signed into law by the President as part of the debt ceiling extension bill, H.R. 2727 doesn't just give Congress the option of rescinding agency rules that run counter to congressional intent, but requires Congress to go on record either for or against each individual regulation. "Americans are disillusioned with government. They believe... that Congress... has grown increasingly unresponsive and unaccountable. They are right," said Representative Hayworth. "Congress routinely delegates its lawmaking duties to politically-unaccountable bureaucrats who craft regulation... Delegation... permits Congress to grant favors without imposing costs and to exercise selective powers without taking responsibility for its consequences." For more information, contact Representative Hayworth's office at (202)225-2190.
Robert O. Voight, co-founder and president of the Maine Conservation Rights Institute (Lubec, Maine) has been selected to receive the University of Maine's Distinguished Achievement Award "in recognition of outstanding achievements in the areas of conservation, private property rights and environmental policy which have benefited the state of Maine and its residents." The Maine Conservation Rights Institute (MECRI) played a key role in stopping National Park Service efforts to designate private property as National Natural Landmarks and organized a grassroots effort to block ratification of the Biological Diversity Treaty. If universities recognize the value of property rights protection can Congress be far behind? For more information, call Bob Voight @ (207)733-5593.
The Supreme Court has rejected a petition by regulatory victim Mary Smith. Smith, a resident of the Philadelphia suburb of Glenolden borough, was charged with a criminal offense after she refused to permit Glenolden officials to inspect her home until they could demonstrate that they had authority to do so. Smith is now filing a motion for rehearing. For more information, contact Pat Callahan of the American Association of Small Property Ownership @ (202)244-6277.
A joke circulating in Washington following passage of the minimum wage hike: What's the difference between a Republican and a Democrat Congress? A Republican Congress passes the Democrats' legislation.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is urging Robert Dole to abandon his efforts to move property rights legislation until the GOP has a chance to repair its environmental image, according to Congressional Quarterly.
"You ought to be very cautious in dealing with [property rights legislation]... I think you accept that you can't win a vote on the floor on that," said Gingrich in a May 15 interview. "You either decline it very narrowly, or you don't bring it up."
Senator Dole's property rights bill, S. 605, would require the government to compensate private property owners if by regulatory action the value of their property is diminished by one-third or more.
By suggesting that Dole abandon property rights legislation, Gingrich is not only suggesting that the GOP break the promise it made to offer relief for many of the nation's smallest landowners, but that the GOP take a winning issue out of its campaign arsenal. Public opinion polls have consistently shown that the vast majority of the American people support property rights protections. A Times Mirror poll conducted last year, for example, found that 66% of the American people supported compensation for regulatory takings of private property. Another poll conducted by The Polling Company found that 72% of the public believes private property owners should be compensated for any losses in property values resulting from government regulation. Even Democrat pollster Celinda Lake has admitted that all her polls and focus groups reveal that property rights is a winning issue for Republicans. Nonetheless, the Speaker is sounding the retreat.
By Gingrich's new logic, agenda items such as passing a Balanced Budget Amendment, cutting taxes and passing congressional term limits would have never made their way into the GOP's "Contract with America."
When discussing environmental issues with members of the press or the public, exude confidence, candor, and humor. Resist the temptation to be defensive -- no matter how aggressive or offensive a question might be. Defensive behavior sends the message that you have something to be defensive about -- or something to hide -- adding credibility to false claims about your environmental position.
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©1996, The National Center for Public Policy Research. Coverage of meetings, activities or statements in The Relief Report does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research.
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