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Walker Introduces Bill to Help Businesses and Force Government Agencies to Post Regulatory Guidance Documents Online

January 16, 2018
Press Release
The Guidance Out Of Darkness (GOOD) Act would require federal agencies to post regulatory guidance documents online.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today introduced the Guidance Out Of Darkness (GOOD) Act. This legislation would increase government accountability and transparency, while lessening the burden on small businesses by requiring federal agencies to post regulatory guidance documents online in an easy to find location. The bill is a House companion to S.2296, introduced by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
To circumvent responsibility and the legal rule-making process, the previous Administration had federal agencies issue "guidance" to serve as de facto regulations.

"The Obama Administration made an art of evading public scrutiny by replacing formal rule-making with a stream of 'guidance,' 'bulletins' and 'statements of policy,'" The Wall Street Journal wrote.

While the regulations themselves were often erroneous and harmful to businesses, they also created undue burden in compliance as the guidance took on many different forms – blog posts, memos, letters, and news releases.

The GOOD Act would bring clarity to the process by forcing all federal agencies to publish guidance documents on their website.

"Our out-of-control regulatory system represents roughly $2 trillion in cost on the economy and American small businesses every single year," Walker said. "Worse yet, federal agencies are going around the rule-process to avoid accountability and oversight. If agencies expect the small businesses of North Carolina to comply with their burdensome rules, they should at a minimum make the information available and easily accessible."

“In addition to facing onerous federal regulations, American businesses are also expected to follow regulatory guidance issued by agencies," Johnson said. "Yet, unlike the public rule-making process for regulations, federal agencies are not required to disseminate guidance broadly to the public for input, making it hard for businesses and industry groups to monitor and follow. This bill will lift the veil of secrecy by requiring federal agencies to post regulatory guidance documents in a centralized location on their websites. This common sense bill would provide much needed transparency to American businesses and consumers.”

The GOOD Act has received praise from Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). "Requiring vastly more disclosure, ensuring that federal agencies post all guidance documents online is a sensible and essential step to beginning to hold federal agencies accountable for their actions," Clyde Wane Crews, vice president for policy at CEI said.

Read the full text of the GOOD Act here.