Many operators cheered when Donald Trump was elected president.

Politics aside, it’s probably not too hard to see why those who run or manage businesses might have been so inclined.

After all, he said early and often that Washington would be generating far fewer regulations on his watch. And it was hardly an empty promise: He already has issued an executive order mandating that two regulations must be removed for every new one that is introduced.

But just as one door may be closing, others are beginning to open. For it appears that many states and local governments are ratcheting up requirements that affect the most expensive component of running a senior living business: employees.

Speaking earlier this week at a Society of Human Resource Management conference, attorney Jonathan A. Segal said the hot-button topics ripe for rulemaking include overtime pay, minimum wage hikes, predictable scheduling, sick leave expansion, marijuana use and right-to-work provisions, to name a few.

As reprieves from regulations go, it would appear this was a short one. For as the SNL character Roseanne Rosannadanna (who was played by the late Gilda Radner) often reminded viewers: “It just goes to show you. It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

As a practical matter, heightened activity at the local and state levels means senior living communities must be prepared to meet whatever is contained in any new mandates that emerge. Operators also will need to be vigilant about tracking employee-related proposals in various jurisdictions, lest they are actually enacted.

Such efforts could prove to be particularly challenging for multi-facility operators, particularly those with communities in more than one state. It’s clearly going to force some firms to put a legal triage strategy in place. In other words, they will need to be selective about which battles to fight and which to let go.

So much for the promise of operating in a more regulatory-free environment. It’s always something indeed.

John O’Connor is editorial director of McKnight’s Senior Living. Email him at