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Workforce, environment top upcoming regulatory actions

A person wearing a blue suit and red tie speaks.
John C. Clark
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks to members of the press inside the rotunda of the state Capitol building on Feb. 25.

The Unified Regulatory Plan lists all anticipated rule changes statewide through the end of fiscal 2024.

Professional, environmental and health regulations make up the majority of those under review this year, according to a VPM News analysis of a publication announced by Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Monday.

The Unified Regulatory Plan is required to be compiled each year, under a 2022 executive order. It lists all anticipated rulemaking activities for the next fiscal year, which runs from July 1-June 30.

This year’s URP contains nearly 400 regulatory items, including those being created, amended or eliminated. That number will change throughout the year as agencies add or remove documents, according to the governor’s office.

Executive Order 19 also charged a new agency, the Office of Regulatory Management, to aim to reduce regulations by one-quarter. Andrew Wheeler, a former EPA administrator, oversees the agency. Youngkin press secretary Macaulay Porter wrote in an email to VPM News that agencies in Virginia have made significant progress on regulatory reduction.  

The proposed actions touch on multiple aspects of life in Virginia, from whether boxers have to weigh in a second time before a match, to standardizing how the Department of Environmental Quality measures phosphorous flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

The general push across both parties to loosen licensing occupational requirements is apparent in the URP. Over one-fifth of the regulatory action this coming year is in the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations, and the Department of Health Professions makes up 10%.

DPOR regulates the jobs of more than 300,000 people, like contractors, barbers and condo managers. DHP “licenses and regulates over 500,000 healthcare practitioners across 62 professions,” according to its website.

Regulations under the Department of Environmental Quality made up 13% of the actions coming up this year. The 48 actions include amending and reissuing expiring stormwater construction regulation, implementing emission standards for vehicles and removing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Porter said the largest numbers of changes tend to be from agencies that have large numbers of existing regulatory requirements.

Youngkin’s 2022 Executive Order replaced one issued by former Gov. Ralph Northam in 2018. When Northam issued his, it replaced a 1999 order from Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Jahd Khalil covers Virginia state politics for VPM News.
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