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Be sensible when cutting red tape


Gov. Mike Pence is looking for suggestions: He wants to know what Indiana can do to make it easier to do business here.

A fresh look at the way the state does business is always welcome. Here’s hoping the governor’s invitation draws ideas for improvements, but don’t be surprised if much of the red tape turns out to be common-sense regulation.

Indiana’s Office of Management and Budget has launched a web site,, to accept suggestions about “any rule or regulation that you think should be changed in order to improve Hoosiers’ lives and businesses.”

“What rule do you consider unnecessary or burdensome for starting a business, hiring additional employees, or obtaining a license or permit?” asks the online form for submitting ideas. It’s a worthwhile initiative.

Coincidentally, a new proposal to roll back required bacteria testing at public pools is an example of how one group’s idea of “unnecessary or burdensome” can be someone else’s idea of basic public health and safety. The proposed change would reduce testing at public pools – at hotels, apartment complexes, schools and parks – from once each week to once a month. Complaints from condominium owners in Indianapolis reportedly prompted the effort to weaken the law.

There is, of course, another side to the pool-testing question. Marcus Yoder of Syracuse-based Leisure Pool & Spa Supply clearly has a business interest in more frequent testing, but he’s also concerned for public safety. He points to a Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993 that sickened 400,000 and may have killed as many as 100. “A public pool is nothing more than a community bathtub. With once-a-month testing, you could have a fecal accident and bacteria in the pool for weeks without finding it,” Yoder said. “I’m all for small government, but this regulation pull-back doesn’t make sense.”

When the Indiana General Assembly passes a law, it falls to the affected office or agency to promulgate rules to carry out the new legislation. Thousands upon thousands of those are collected in the Indiana Administrative Code.

The Indiana Register serves as the working document for the Indiana Code, where the full text of proposed rules and amendments are published, along with notices of intent to change a rule. Hearings and reviews are part of the process before a rule is finalized and becomes part of state code.

The governor’s red-tape effort could produce some helpful changes in the code, but careful and deliberate consideration of each proposal is necessary. Hoosiers depend on a thorough review to protect lives and pocketbooks.