The bill enacts the 'Regulatory Relief Act of 2017'. The bill includes a legislative declaration about the importance of small businesses to the Colorado economy and acknowledges the difficulty these types of businesses have in complying with state rules that are not known or understood by these businesses.
The bill requires a state agency (agency) to give a small business a period of time to cure a first-time minor violation of a rule instead of enforcing the rule by imposing a fine. When an agency determines that a small business has committed a minor violation of a rule, instead of imposing a fine, the agency is required to notify the small business in writing of the violation, including the steps to cure the violation, and give the small business 30 business days to cure the violation. Upon a showing of good cause, the business owner may request additional time to cure the violation. If the small business owner fails to cure the minor violation within the stated time period, the agency may impose the fine on the small business. This cure provision does not apply in cases where an agency is required by statute to assess a fine for noncompliance.
For purposes of the cure provision, the bill defines 'small business' as a business that employs 100 or fewer employees.
The bill defines 'minor violation' as a violation that includes operational or administrative matters, such as record keeping, retention of data, or filing of reports, and that is enforced by a fine; except that 'minor violation' does not include any matter that places the safety of the public, employees, or others at risk. The bill provides exceptions from the definition of 'minor violation' for certain types of rules or violations.
Under current law, agencies are required to convene stakeholder groups to give input about proposed rules. The bill amends the stakeholder provision to direct agencies to make diligent attempts to notify and solicit input from representatives of small businesses (in this case small business is a business with fewer than 500 employees as defined under the 'State Administrative Procedure Act') about proposed rule-making, if the agency's proposed rule-making has a potential negative impact on small businesses.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)