STATEHOUSE - 
Much like death and taxes, the presence of government rules and regulations can seem like a permanent fixture in our lives. Rules and regulations govern the cars we drive, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.  Whether we are teachers or engineers, barbers or physical therapists, we operate within a legal framework that is constantly changing. 
 
Some of these rules are necessary to make government work efficiently and effectively for everyone. Other rules create layers of red tape that needlessly slow the engine of economic growth in Ohio. Small businesses focused on their bottom line are less likely to expand and create jobs if they have to divert resources toward meeting burdensome requirements.
 
Fortunately, you can now directly influence the rules and regulations that impact your life here in Ohio. In 2012 I was serving as the chairman of JCARR, Ohio's rule oversight committee, when I had the idea of crowd-sourcing the task of constraining the growth of government regulations. The concept was simple: hard-working Ohioans know better than bureaucrats how regulations impact their businesses, so we should listen to them. From that simple idea RuleWatchOhio.gov was born. This easy to use website was created quickly and inexpensively due to the excellent work of the JCARR staff and Ohio's Legislative Information Systems team.

RuleWatch Ohio is a website launched recently that has already gained national recognition for the transparency it infuses into the administrative rulemaking process. This month, the National Conference of State Legislatures ranked the site as 3rd on their list of the country’s “Top 15 Website Ideas Worth Stealing.”
 
RuleWatch Ohio allows the public to track all of Ohio’s 15,000 rules from more than 110 state agencies and boards.  After registering your email on http://www.RuleWatchOhio.gov, you can choose to track any number of Ohio’s individual rules and receive an email update when there is any activity on the rule. You can also choose to track rules that specifically relate to issues that affect your life, from Medicaid and public pension benefits to law enforcement and K-12 education. There is no limit to the number of rules you track, and you can opt out of the service at any time.
 
If you have a specific comment or concern about a rule, you can contact the state agency that is proposing the rule or the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). JCARR is a legislative committee that ensures that state agencies do not make rules that exceed their legal authority. As a member and past chairman of this committee, I have experienced firsthand the value of public input to help us decide whether or not to recommend that a rule be invalidated. 

The website we created was immediately embraced by citizens and industry groups throughout the state, earning acclaim as a user-friendly tool that increases transparency and public engagement. Because of its success, I drafted Senate Bill 3 last year to make RuleWatchOhio.gov a permanent part of state law. This bipartisan piece of legislation was signed into law last year by Governor Kasich. 
 
In Ohio, our first priority is putting folks back to work. To do that, we must vigilantly monitor the burden that government places on businesses that create jobs. Our goal is to promote a sleeker, smarter government that protects Ohioans with an adequate regulatory system without stifling innovation and growth. This balance is not always easy to find, but we cannot succeed without your input. By registering with RuleWatchOhio.go and voicing your opinions about the rules that affect your lives, you equip your elected officials to work more effectively on your behalf.
 
To register with RuleWatch Ohio and begin tracking rules, go to http://www.rulewatchohio.gov
 
 
 
  
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