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Senate passes small-business regulation review bill

By , - Last modified: June 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

The state Senate has unanimously voted for a House bill requiring that new regulations be analyzed for their impact on small businesses.

House Bill 1349 has been working its way through the General Assembly since April 2011 and with the Senate passage would only require the House to confer on amendments before the bill heads to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature. The House passed the bill Oct. 5.

“I think at this point it’s ready to finalize,” said Rep. Tina Pickett, a Republican representing Sullivan County and parts of Bradford and Susquehanna counties and the bill’s chief sponsor.

The bill requires the state’s regulatory departments under the governor’s oversight to prepare reports on new regulations that would outline their impact to individuals, the state, municipalities and large and small businesses. The bill uses the U.S. Small Business Administration’s size definitions, which describe small business as 500 or fewer employees for manufacturing and mining, and $7 million or less in average annual receipts.

Key components of such analysis include:

• Identification of industries and types of businesses that would be affected.

• Financial, economic and social impacts of regulation on individuals, small businesses, business and labor communities.

• Estimates on number of businesses affected, costs and proposed record keeping required to comply.

• Descriptions of less intrusive and costly means to achieve the regulation purpose.

• Evaluation of regulation benefits.

Pickett said the bill is an attempt to give small business a voice in the design of regulation and outline how such processes will work best.

“We’re not saying small business doesn’t have to comply, but that regulators document alternative means and the impact of regulation,” she said.

Pickett said she’s hoping the House can get a final vote on the bill and send it to the governor before June 30. However, the legislature is still contending with finalizing a state budget before that deadline. It can always finish HB 1349 in the fall, Pickett said.


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