The bill contains a legislative declaration about the difficulties small businesses encounter when attempting to stay current with changing rules and new rules that affect their businesses. The bill identifies 4 specific actions that the executive branch could take to inform small businesses about proposed and new rules.
The bill creates a system that gives state agencies discretion in imposing fines upon a business for a first-time offense of a minor violation. The agency's discretion applies to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees (business).
Unless specifically stated otherwise in statute, a state agency has discretion to give the business an opportunity to cure the violation in 30 business days and to waive the penalties or fine if the minor violation is cured. If the business:
- Cures the minor violation within 30 days, the agency shall waive the penalties or fine or both; or
- Cures the minor violation after the 30-day cure period has run, the agency may reduce the penalties or fine in full or in part.
The opportunity to cure a minor violation does not apply in cases where an agency is required by statute to assess a fine for noncompliance.
The bill defines 'minor violation' as a violation that:
- Relates to operational or administrative matters such as record keeping, retention of data, or failing to file reports or forms; and
- Is enforced by a fine, either in total or in the aggregate, of $500 or less; and
- Meets one of the following conditions:
- The violation relates to a rule promulgated within the 12 months immediately preceding the alleged violation; or
- The violation relates to any rule and the business that has committed the minor violation has been operating as a business for less than 1 year prior to the violation. 'Minor violation' does not include:
- Any matter that places the safety of employees; other persons; or the public health, safety, or environment at risk; or
- Violations relating to:
- The issuance of or denial of benefits or compensation to employees; or
- Activities required by federal law.
Each state agency shall conduct an analysis of noncompliance with its rules to identify rules with the greatest frequency of noncompliance, rules that generate the greatest amount of fines, how many first-time offenders were given the opportunity to cure a minor violation, and what factors contribute to noncompliance by regulated businesses. The agency shall consider and review what actions should be taken to address the issues identified.
Any principal department that conducts an analysis of noncompliance with rules shall forward that analysis to the department of regulatory agencies, who shall compile and summarize those analyses into one combined analysis of noncompliance with rules. The department of regulatory agencies shall include that compiled analysis in its departmental presentation to the oversight legislative committee pursuant to the 'SMART Government Act'.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)