Gov. Scott Walker’s office said he expects to sign a bill giving a state legislative panel the power to block proposed environmental and other rules put forth by state agencies.

“Governor Walker thanks the Legislature for sharing his commitment to bold regulatory reform and looks forward to signing the bill into law,” Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said.

The state Assembly passed the bill Wednesday on a 62-34 vote. The state Senate passed the bill last month.

Under the bill, which supporters call the REINS Act, state agencies could not impose rules projected to cost businesses or local governments more than $10 million. Lawmakers and the governor would have to enact a law instead.

The bill also allows a legislative panel, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, to indefinitely object to an administrative rule to bar the agency that proposed it from implementing it.

Supporters of the bill, which include Republicans and business groups, have said it would have prevented environmental-protection rules that proved costly to businesses, such as the state Department of Natural Resources’ 2010 phosphorus rule.

Critics, which include Democrats and environmental groups, have said it will permit businesses and industry groups to effectively override the agencies tasked with regulating them.


Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.