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Enabling Legislation

DEFINITION

Local, state, or federal legislation that permits the government to enact or alter existing zoning regulations.

EXPLANATION

Enabling legislation is when a government body grants an agency the right to make decisions. Essentially it gives an agency the authority to enforce new and existing laws. For example, assume the congress passes a bill that permits low income employees to get government benefits, an enabling act will give the government agency tasked with implementing the law the right to act on behalf of the congressional bill’s goals.

An enabling act authorizes a state to enact the legislation within the state and state the laws in the state’s constitution. Although enabling acts give the state or a specific government agency the right to enforce mechanisms of an act or the right to perform things, the state or agency’s rights are not without supervision. Certain actions must be admitted by the federal government for approval of the act.

Purpose of Enabling Legislation

Overseeing an agency requires a bill to have enabling legislation attached to it. Most enabling agency is basic in nature. Most legislation includes phrases such as “the agency is tasked with protecting the public.” This basic but powerful language gives the agency the discretion to perform many tasks. Because the goals of the agency are to protect the public, the agency has the implied authority to make decisions that they believe protects the public.

Bills that are complex in nature where there are few experts in the field have very little government oversight. Because there are few experts in the field in which the authority is granted, few people can reasonably intervene, therefore an agency in this situation might have more authority than say an agency that is trying to fulfill a relatively simple task such as distributing funds.

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