Capping a year-long review undertaken at a dozen state agencies, Governor Jack Markell released a report from his office today detailing modifications to or the deletion of more than 140 state regulations. Markell provided an overview of the initiative today to lawmakers, including legislators on the Small Business Caucus, representatives from the state's chambers of commerce and members of the business community who provided input during the process.
As a result, state agencies eliminated unwarranted requirements on businesses and individuals, extended compliance deadlines for businesses, instituted timelines for government officials to respond to business proposals, and removed outdated and duplicative rules. (See fact sheet below)
"We recognize the value of appropriate regulations that protect Delawareans, such as ensuring the quality of our food and water, the condition of our medical facilities and the safety of our roads," said Markell. "But we must be vigilant about preventing unreasonable burdens that strain business owners and impede public services. As a result of the changes in this report, we are making it easier to do business in Delaware, making government operations more efficient, and making agency rules simpler to use and understand."
The initiative began in June 2012, when the Governor issued Executive Order (EO) 36, which brought together citizens, businesses and state agencies to identify and remove regulatory hurdles. Each department conducted an internal review and was required to hold at least one public forum in each county, where it accepted written comments and suggestions.
"Self-examination is difficult, but our Governor and cabinet secretaries realized the importance of updating regulations and looked at their organizations thoroughly to make much-needed changes," said Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn. "Small businesses, Chambers of Commerce and others played valuable roles in this process by offering sincere and thoughtful suggestions to help improve regulations and processes currently in place. This is yet another step to making Delaware a place where people want to build and grow their businesses."
"This has been a priority of the Small Business Caucus and it is especially important that the public had the chance to be engaged in the process," said Rep. Bryon H. Short, D-Highland Woods, who co-chairs the bipartisan House Small Business Caucus. "I appreciate the Governor listening to the Caucus and the needs expressed by the business community to make this a reality."
"I want to compliment Governor Markell and the leaders of the Small Business Caucus for their leadership in this effort," said Richard Heffron, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. "The Chamber appreciated the opportunity to participate in the process and address the impact of regulations on the small business community."
To illustrate the impact of EO 36, Phil McGinnis, of McGinnis Commercial Real Estate Co. in Dover, spoke about one suggestion that he had brought to state leaders and that was reflected in the report. The Department of Transportation had previously required all new developments to provide sidewalks, or other "multi-use paths." McGinnis and others said this rule added an unnecessary burden for projects in sparse areas where connections with other paths are not possible. Following the EO 36 review, DelDOT's requirements will no longer apply to these areas.
"I'm personally grateful that Governor Markell initiated E.O. 36," said McGinnis. "And I'm glad that the review does not stop here."
The report includes regulatory adjustments by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Children, Youth & Their Families (DSCYF), Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), Department of Education, Department of Finance, Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS), Department of Labor, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), Department of State and Department of Transportation (DelDOT).
Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee, DNREC Secretary Colin O'Mara, DEDO Director Alan Levin and DelDOT Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski spoke at the event to offer examples of regulatory changes.
EO 36 calls for another full review process no more than three years after the submission of today's report to the General Assembly.