Arizona passes groundbreaking legislation

PHOENIX—In a first among states, Arizona has evened the playing field between government and private entities.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2238, sponsored by Representative Eddie Farnsworth, which ensures that individuals and businesses that appeal unjust agency decisions will have their cases reviewed fairly and independently by the courts, without deference to the agency’s own interpretation of the law. It directs courts to treat these cases the same as any other case, without favoring the government. With the bill signed, Arizona becomes the first state to level the playing field for private entities and reject the requirement that courts simply accept the government’s biased interpretation of a statute (known as Chevron deference).

“For too long the system has been rigged in favor of government agencies, and private citizens have not been treated fairly,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches said. “Agencies were free to fine people, deny them licenses, and even recommend criminal penalties for alleged violations of rules and regulations. Enacting this bill means that Arizona has removed the thumb from the scale for agencies and curbed their immense, abusive power.”

By putting an end to administrative deference, this law is a big win for due process. Riches says that the law gives Arizonans “an equal and fair opportunity to challenge unjust regulatory actions without having to battle a system that is stacked against them.”