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State Official: Nearly 6,000 Comments So Far on How to Minimize Red Tape

Justin Smith
Sarah Teague

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ “No MO Red Tape” project is six months ahead of schedule, said the Governor’s Deputy Counsel Justin Smith.

The project launched in January when Greitens signed Executive Order 17-03, ordering all governmental agencies to undergo a review of all proposed or passed regulations in the Code of State Regulations.

“We’ve received almost 6,000 comments from people writing in on ways we can clean up state regulations,” Smith said in Springfield Wednesday. “Our folks are working hard. They’re actually on pace to finish a lot earlier than scheduled.”

Greitens’ team launched a website to receive feedback, and is rifling through the 400,000 pages of regulation published in the Missouri Register since 2000. Smith said their main goal is to cut down a third of these governmental restrictions by May 2018.

For a regulation to withstand downsizing or be passed in the future, Smith said the red tape team has compiled a list of criteria. Any regulation must be essential to the “health, safety or welfare” of Missourians. Additionally, the rule cannot affect competitive business.

“Missouri just has too many unnecessary and burdensome regulations,” Smith said. “In fact, Missouri’s growth in red tape has been faster than the federal government for the last 15 years. The governor and our team want to clean that up so that we can open up the economy for jobs and economic growth.”

Smith’s presentation took place inside the Frisco Building in Springfield. Outside, a line of a dozen protesters that had wrapped themselves in red tape stood along off Chestnut Expressway holding signs.

Erin Kappeler, a representative from Southwest Missouri National Organization for Women, said they were there to stand against Greitens’ support of Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which they say modify several provisions relating to abortion. That includes, according to Kappeler, Senate Bill 5 signed by Greitens on July 26.

Erin Kappeler Protesters
Credit Sarah Teague / KSMU
Protesters, including Erin Kappeler (center), stood outside the Frisco Building on Nov. 8 to protest TRAP Laws, signed into effect By Gov. Eric Greitens on July 26, 2017.

“They’re designed to make it seem like they’re helping patients, but in fact they place an undue burden on women who are seeking reproductive healthcare,” Kappeler said. “I would just urge Gov. Greitens and the Missouri State Legislature to trust women, and to listen to us when we say we know what’s best for our bodies. We don’t want to have to go through red tape when it comes to making medical decisions.”

Asked about the protesters, Smith said TRAP laws cannot be considered red tape regulations because such rules can only be defined by those that do not benefit health or safety.

“The regulations that they are protesting actually do protect women’s health — the governor has made it an important part of his platform to proactively make sure that women are getting the safe healthcare that they need,” Smith said. “We’re proud of the regulations that protect women’s health.”