Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford) Wednesday secured House approval of legislation that seeks to give small businesses a seat at the table when it comes to advancing state regulations.
Rep. Pickett's House Bill 1349 ensures that small business advocates be contacted whenever new state regulations are proposed. This allows the small business community to have input into the proposed regulations and communicate to state regulators about any potential negative impacts.
"Small business owners don't have the time or resources to track every state regulation and attend every public meeting or hearing, and may not even know a new regulation is in place until it's enforced," said Rep. Pickett, a former small business owner. "This legislation simply requires that when regulations are proposed, the small business community is contacted and allowed to offer its input."
The overall intent of House Bill 1349 is to help the private sector create jobs by considering the impact proposed regulations have on small businesses. If a negative impact exists, the state agencies would be required to offer alternative requirements to meet the intent of the regulation.
"Time and time again, small business owners and economic development experts have told us that overly burdensome and often duplicative regulations have cost them both time and money," Rep. Pickett said. "This is likely preventing them from expanding their business or hiring more workers."
Rep. Pickett, who has sponsored similar legislation in the past, said that cost of regulations to a small business is about 60 percent more than the cost to a large employer.
Small businesses are often defined as those employing less than 100 people but this legislation would follow federal definitions of small businesses. In Pennsylvania, that includes nearly half of the private-sector workforce.
"This legislation, in no way, relaxes the intent of the regulations, especially those dealing with public health and safety," she said. "Instead, a business may be given more flexibility in meeting paperwork deadlines or submitting documents through an alternative."
Under House Bill 1349, agencies must inform the Independent Regulatory Review Commission of the following when submitting regulatory proposals:
-- The type of small business that would be affected by the proposed regulation;
-- Any financial, economic or social impacts on small businesses;
-- An economic impact statement to include estimated number of small businesses affected; cost of compliance to the regulation; probable effect on impacted small businesses; and a description of any less intrusive or less costly alternative; and
-- Alternatives to small businesses that would still achieve the effect of the proposed regulation.
The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration. A similar bill-- Senate Bill 1273 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks)-- was introduced in the Senate this week.