NEW: Bills to Streamline Regulations Pass Senate
Friday, April 13, 2012
The Senate Thursday passed two bills to address regulatory concerns. Both bills are part of a comprehensive package of legislation intended to “Make it Easy to do Business in Rhode Island.”
The first bill, (2012-S2458A), sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown), is intended to improve Rhode Island’s ranking as the most regulated state for land use. The legislation protects current agricultural businesses and increases future farming in coastal communities in the state.
The bill eliminates the requirement for Coastal Resource Management Council approval and gives the Department of Environmental Management exclusive jurisdiction over plant agriculture businesses, including farming on wetlands.
“As a farmer, I know firsthand the frustration that can be caused among agricultural businesses because of regulations,” said Senator Sosnowski, who is Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture. “This legislation maintains important safeguards while cutting red tape and making it easier for Rhode Island farmers to do what they do best, which is focus on growing their crop and running their businesses.”
The Senate also passed (2012-S2355), sponsored by Sen. Erin P. Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick), which will clean-up, streamline, and bring uniformity to the 2010 Regulatory Fairness Act. The 2010 Act requires state agencies to develop economic impact statements detailing the probable impact that any relevant regulatory filing may have on small businesses.
There are instances where the new law conflicts with law that had been on the books since 2005. This legislation corrects that by repealing the 2005 Act, while preserving some important elements of it by moving the language into the 2010 Act.
The legislation was suggested by the Small Business Advisory Council and was a collaborative effort among the Senate, the Secretary of State, and the Economic Development Corporation.
“In an effort to continue to help small businesses, we are working to build upon the successes we have achieved in cutting red tape to make it easy to do business in Rhode Island,” said Senator Lynch, who co-chaired the Senate Small Business Task Force which developed successful regulatory reform legislation in previous years. “This important bill corrects areas of the law where there was overlap and, in some cases, conflict in the law with the reforms we made in 2010 to identify less costly or less intrusive alternatives to business regulations.”
Both bills will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.