Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Committee Considers New Board to Assist with State Filings, Regulations

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Committee Considers New Board to Assist with State Filings, Regulations

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma House Small Business Committee is considering a new board to help small businesses deal with state filings and regulations.

A bill before the committee would allow business owners to ask the board to review state agency rules and recommend changes to the agency or Legislature.

House Bill 1816, by Rep. Jack Bonny, D-Burns Flat, and Sen. Jim Maddox, D-Lawton, would create a new 16-member Small Business Regulatory Review Board within the Department of Commerce.

Patterned after a Hawaiian statute, the bill would require agencies to assess the possible impact of proposed rules on small business, and to present their rules, along with a small business impact statement, to the new board. The statement would cover the types of businesses to be affected, costs of administration and compliance, methods considered or used and whether the proposed rules are more stringent than federal or state standards.

Rules could be reviewed for several reasons, including:

* A claim that the rules do not reflect their actual effect.

* The impact statement did not consider economic information that reveals an undue impact on small business.

*l An allegation that possible impacts were not previously considered at a public hearing.

For rules adopted prior to the bill's effective date, grounds could also include:

* An assertion that the rules create an undue burden on small business.

* A claim that the rules are duplicative or conflict with other regulations.

* A contention that factors justifying the rules' purpose have changed.

The agency in question would have 60 days to respond to the petition. If it does not adopt changes as a result of the petition, the small business could seek a review before the new board. If the board recommends that the agency adopt new rules, it would file a report with the Legislature, which could take whatever action as it deems appropriate.

The board would also monitor agency rules that have generated complaints from small business owners.

Other language in the bill would require agencies to waive or reduce penalties for rules violations by small business if the violation is corrected within 30 days and was unintentional or the result of excusable neglect or of an excusable misunderstanding of the agency's interpretation of a rule.

Penalties could not be waived or reduced for violations in bad faith, that are willful or criminal or which result in serious adverse health, safety or environmental impact.

John Sellers, D-Enid, who vice-chairs the House small business committee, said that small business regulatory responsibility already has been enacted in several states. …

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