To tackle outdated, ineffective and redundant regulations while giving a boost to small business, Governor Jack Markell today signed an executive order that launches a statewide effort that brings citizens, businesses and state agencies together to identify and remove regulatory hurdles.
"Regulations, when properly used, can help meet shared goals. They can ensure the safety of the food we eat, the hospitals we visit, and the roads we drive. But regulations can become outdated and inconsistent. They don't work the way they were intended to work. In short, they can become a problem, not part of a solution. This is a statewide effort to find those problems and remove them," said Markell, who has visited over 750 businesses in Delaware since his swearing-in.
Before the Governor signed the Order, he heard from a bipartisan group of legislators and a number of small business owners representing the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
"This reinforces Delaware's ranking among the best places in the country to do business," said NFIB State Director Ellen Valentino. "Small businesses are deeply appreciative and we're looking forward to working with the Governor's administration to implement this order."
Executive Order 36 requires executive branch agencies to take a close look at the regulations on their books that have been in place at least three years. It launches a public process to give citizens a chance to tell state agencies which regulations they believe are no longer working. Each executive agency will be required to hold at least one public forum in each county and accept written comments and suggestions.
At the conclusion of the public input period, each agency must evaluate the proposals and recommendations it received during the public comment period. In some cases, agencies may decide that a regulation serves a relevant policy purpose, is required by the federal government, or is valid for some other reason. In those cases, the regulation would stay in place. In other cases, the agency can revise and eliminate those regulations, in accordance with the procedures required under the APA, or Administrative Procedures Act.
Under the executive order, no later than one year from today, the Governor's Office will submit a report to General Assembly detailing the regulations eliminated or modified pursuant to this process.
"I couldn't be more pleased with Governor Markell's strong statement today in support of Delaware's small business community. The state continually adds new laws and their accompanying regulations every year. If you own a small business, you do your best to be in compliance, but there is always the fear you are missing something due to decade upon decade of regulations," said Rep. Bryon H. Short, D-Highland Woods, who co-chairs the bipartisan House Small Business Caucus. "With the signing of Executive Order 36, the governor has taken action on a four-year effort of the Small Business Caucus to create an
environment in Delaware where small businesses know they are supported and valued. The fact that the governor is sending top administration officials to hear directly from business owners regarding the state of regulations impacting their businesses and his recommitment to the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1983 speaks volumes about his support for small businesses in Delaware."
House Republican leader Greg Lavelle led a group of dozen Republican legislators who attended in support of the effort.
"With the exception of the Department of Education, none of our state agencies have a system for regularly reviewing their regulations. This executive order will change that reality. Regulations often carry the same weight as law and the process of how our state agencies craft, change and impose these rules is in need of reform. All of our members support this effort as a
positive first step forward," Lavelle said.
Representative Dan Short, the Republican co-chair of the House Small Business Caucus, endorsed the effort for the boost it will offer businesses but said it was critical that those businesses help with this effort by making their personal experiences with regulatory obstacles known. Short previously brought together a group of thirty Seaford-area businesses to meet with the Governor and has worked with the Governor on his business visits in the area.
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