FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Gov. Dannel Malloy has announced a plan to make work easier for Connecticut businesses by sweeping dozens of outdated regulations from the state’s rulebooks.
Malloy has submitted a bill to the Connecticut General Assembly that he says would strike more than 1,000 pages of state rules that the governor’s office deemed “obsolete, duplicative, excessively burdensome, or otherwise ineffective or unnecessary.”
“We’re committed to making state government more efficient, more transparent and more responsive,” Malloy said in a press release. “Streamlining regulations and repealing those that are just too burdensome or no longer needed will help in our efforts to be more user-friendly for both citizens and businesses.”
Much of the bill’s work is to clean up the state’s code by getting rid of regulations that were tied to laws that and many decades old and have since been repealed. Many provisions also get rid of regulations that are already covered by federal laws or have been superseded by newer state reforms.
The law also targets obscure and rarely enforced rules still on the books, such a law that prohibits women from working alone from 1 to 6 a.m. State Labor Commissioner Sharon Palmer called that law in particular “unnecessary and extremely outdated” in her report to the governor’s office on the proposed changes.
Andrew Markowski, state director of small business advocacy group the National Federation of Independent Businesses, mostly agreed with the suggestions. He pointed out that a recent survey of small business owners nationwide ranked “unreasonable government regulations” as the their fifth-highest concern.
“Much like taxes, this generic problem category costs small business owners in several ways,” Markowski said.
He said he’d also like to see the concept go a step further and have the governor form a “fairness board” made up of small business owners that lawmakers could consult before changing or adding regulations.
Eric Brown of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association also largely support’s the bills’ intent. But he expressed concerns about one provision in Malloy’s bill that would also speed up the implementation of new regulations considered “noncontroversial.” The clause would allow new regulations to bypass the usual process, as long as there are no objections filed within a 30-day window.
Brown called the provision “a very aggressive change that frankly makes many businesses nervous” in his testimony to the legislature earlier this month. But he said his organization could support the bill if it includes exceptions for bills that would have a “significant impact.”
Malloy said the idea behind that portion of the bill was to allow state agencies to update their rules more frequently to keep up with changing circumstances.
“Agencies should be provided the tools for making necessary changes in a quick and efficient manner, while maintaining the same level of public input as exists today,” he said.
The General Assembly's Joint Committee on Government Administration and Elections is working to refine the governor's proposed bill. The full text of the bill is available for review here.