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President Trump Freezes New Regulations

At the direction of President Donald Trump, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum on January 20, 2017 (released January 23, 2017) instructing all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations. The freeze was put in place in order to provide the new administration time to review any such regulations. This is said to be a fairly standard action when one party takes over from the other at the time of a change in administration. Additionally, as major news articles report, this gives President Trump time to make good on a major promise of his administration, elimination of regulations that Republicans have felt are burdensome on businesses.

Though the President cannot stop the institution of any regulations that have already gone into effect, he has instituted a new process for those that are pending. Federal regulations must go through a multi-step process before they are fully in effect. If the President wants to change regulations that have been in place for some time, he will need an act of Congress or with the help of his agencies, will need to start from scratch with the regulatory process.

The memo issued by Reince Priebus requires that if a regulation has not been sent to be published in the Federal Register, the agency will not send it to be published until such time that it has been reviewed by someone designated by the President. If a regulation has been sent, but not published, the memo requires that it be withdrawn. Finally, there are regulations that have already been published in the Federal Register, but are not yet effective. Those regulations will be delayed for 60 days for review and it is possible that based on the review the regulation could be reopened. In cases where the regulation is related to critical health, safety, financial or national security matters, there may be an exception to the freeze.

Until such time as a final decision is made with regard to any regulation that is part of this freeze by President Trump, employers should not assume that regulations will not go into effect, but instead, make sure they keep abreast of information on regulations and prepare as though the regulation will go into effect until each regulation is affirmatively not issued and published.

Employers should keep in mind that aside from this freeze being put in place, there are other areas of employment regulation that may be changed by the new administration and employers should ensure they are monitoring the employment law environment for changes that may affect their business and their Human Resources operations.

Source: HR Workplace Services