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Governor signs three bills to reduce burden of regulations on small businesses

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Wilmington, Del. – Gov. Jack Markell signed three regulatory reform bills into law which that legislators say will improve Delaware’s business climate. House Bill 147 requires executive branch agencies to review the regulations on their books every four years, while Senate Bill 113 and Senate Bill 120 require agencies to consider the impact of new regulations and examine ways to reduce their burdens upon small businesses.

“Together, these three bills will improve transparency, increase accountability, and make life easier for small businesses,” said Markell. “Today, as evidenced by the unanimous passage of this legislation, my administration and members of the General Assembly are speaking with a unified voice in support of these goals.”

The bills signed into law include:

  • House Bill 147 requires each executive branch agency to review the regulations on its books every four years, with a view toward modifying or eliminating those regulations that are no longer needed.  Under HB 147, the first regulatory review process must begin no later than January 1, 2016.
  • Senate Bill 113 requires each agency to submit a “regulatory impact statement” whenever it proposes regulations that would place additional burdens upon small businesses. Among other things, each regulatory impact statement must include (1) a description of the regulation’s purpose, as well as the individuals and small businesses that would be subject to it; (2) the estimated costs of compliance; and (3) a description of less burdensome methods of achieving the regulation’s purpose.
  • Senate Bill 120  requires that whenever an agency proposes a regulation that would place additional burdens upon small businesses, it must submit a “regulatory flexibility analysis” that examines ways to lessen the impact of the regulation.  In a regulatory flexibility analysis, agencies generally must consider (1) establishing less stringent deadlines; (2) using performance standards instead of design standards; (3) exempting individuals or small businesses from the regulation; and (4) other ways to accomplish the regulation’s purpose while minimizing the impact upon individuals and small businesses.

“As a small businessman, I know firsthand that our state’s regulatory structure sometimes can be more difficult to navigate than it should be, but I also know that our state agencies want to work with entrepreneurs and see our businesses grow,” added Rep. Quinn Johnson (D-Middletown), a co-sponsor of the bills. “With this legislation, our state agencies will now have the ability to work together with Delaware businesses to help them accomplish their goals, while still fulfilling their missions on behalf of the public.”

Both SB 113 and SB 120 become effective for all new or amended regulations submitted to the Registrar of Regulations on or after January 1, 2016.

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