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Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
April 21, 2004
Introduced by Reps. Cato, Tripp, G.R. Smith, Anthony and Jennings
S. Printed 4/21/04--H.
Read the first time May 1, 2003.
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 1-23-117 SO AS TO PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY IN THE PROMULGATION OF REGULATIONS THAT ADVERSELY IMPACT SMALL BUSINESSES, TO DEFINE "SMALL BUSINESS", TO REQUIRE EXAMINATION OF REGULATORY ALTERNATIVES, TO PROVIDE FOR REVIEW OF AN AGENCY DECISION IN THIS CONNECTION, TO REQUIRE REVIEW OF AGENCY REGULATIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF PROMOTING FLEXIBILITY IN PROMULGATING REGULATIONS THAT ADVERSELY IMPACT SMALL BUSINESSES, AND TO PROVIDE FOR EMERGENCY REGULATIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-10, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROMULGATION OF REGULATIONS, SO AS TO INCLUDE "SMALL BUSINESSES" AND A REFERENCE TO SECTION 1-23-117; AND TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-120, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY REVIEW OF REGULATIONS, SO AS TO REQUIRE AN AGENCY SUBMITTING A REGULATION FOR REVIEW TO ALSO SUBMIT THE DOCUMENTS AN AGENCY IS REQUIRED TO PREPARE PURSUANT TO THIS ACT.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) a vibrant and growing small business sector is critical to creating jobs in a dynamic economy;
(2) small businesses bear a disproportionate share of regulatory costs and burdens;
(3) fundamental changes needed in the regulatory and enforcement culture of state agencies to make them more responsive to small business can be made without compromising the statutory missions of the agencies;
(4) when adopting regulations to protect the health, safety, and economic welfare of this State, state agencies shall seek to achieve statutory goals as effectively and efficiently as possible without imposing unnecessary burdens on small employers;
(5) uniform regulatory and reporting requirements impose unnecessary and disproportionately burdensome demands, including legal, accounting, and consulting costs, upon small businesses with limited resources;
(6) the failure to recognize differences in the scale and resources of regulated businesses adversely affects competition in the marketplace, discourages innovation, and restricts improvements in productivity;
(7) unnecessary regulations create entry barriers in many industries and discourage potential entrepreneurs from introducing beneficial products and processes;
(8) the practice of treating all regulated businesses as equivalent leads to inefficient use of regulatory agency resources, enforcement problems, and actions inconsistent with the legislative intent of health, safety, environmental, and economic welfare legislation;
(9) alternative regulatory approaches that do not conflict with the stated objective of applicable statutes are available to minimize the significant economic impact of regulations on small businesses; and
(10) the process by which state regulations are developed and adopted must be reformed to require agencies to solicit the ideas and comments of small businesses, to examine the impact of proposed and existing regulations on these businesses, and to review the continued need for existing regulations.
SECTION 2. Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 1-23-270. (A) This article may be cited as the 'South Carolina Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act of 2004'.
(B) As used in this article 'small business' means a commercial retail service, industry entity, or nonprofit corporation, including its affiliates, that:
(1) is, if a commercial retail service or industry service, independently owned and operated; and
(2) employs fewer than one hundred full-time employees or has gross annual sales or program service revenues of less than five million dollars.
(C) Before an agency submits to the General Assembly for review a regulation that may have a significant adverse impact on small businesses, the agency, if directed by the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee, shall prepare:
(1) an economic impact statement that includes the following:
(a) an identification and estimate of the number of small businesses subject to the proposed regulation;
(b) the projected reporting, record keeping, and other administrative costs required for compliance with the proposed regulation, including the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record;
(c) a statement of the economic impact on small businesses; and
(d) a description of less intrusive or less costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the proposed regulation;
(2) a regulatory flexibility analysis in which the agency, where consistent with health, safety, and environmental and economic welfare, shall consider utilizing regulatory methods that accomplish the objectives of applicable statutes while minimizing a significant adverse impact on small businesses.
(D) The agency shall consider, without limitation, each of the following methods of reducing the impact of the proposed regulation on small businesses:
(a) establishment of less stringent compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;
(b) establishment of less stringent schedules or deadlines for compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;
(c) consolidation or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;
(d) establishment of performance standards for small businesses to replace design or operational standards required in the proposed regulation; and
(e) exemption of small businesses from all or a part of the requirements contained in the proposed regulation.
(E) A small business that is adversely impacted or aggrieved in connection with the promulgation of a regulation is entitled to judicial review of agency compliance with the requirements of this article. A small business may seek that review during the period beginning on the date of final agency action.
(F)(1) Within five years of the effective date of this article, each agency shall review all agency regulations existing at the time of the effective date to determine whether to continue the regulations without change or amend or rescind them to minimize economic impact of the regulations on small businesses in a manner consistent with the stated objective of applicable statutes. If the head of the agency determines that completion of the review of existing regulations is not feasible by the established date, the agency shall publish in the State Register a statement certifying that determination.
(2) Regulations that take effect on or after the effective date of this article must be reviewed within five years of the publication of the final regulation in the State Register and every five years after that to ensure that they minimize economic impact on small businesses in a manner consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes.
(3) In reviewing regulations to minimize their economic impact on small businesses, the agency shall consider the:
(a) continued need for the regulation;
(b) nature of complaints or comments received concerning the regulation from the public;
(c) complexity of the regulation;
(d) extent to which the regulation overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other federal, state, and local governmental regulations; and
(e) length of time since the regulation has been evaluated or the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the regulation.
(G) An agency may promulgate an emergency regulation pursuant to Section 1-23-130, notwithstanding that the regulation otherwise would be subject to this article.
Section 1-23-280. (A)(1) There is established a Small Business Regulatory Review Committee within the South Carolina Department of Commerce. For purposes of this article, 'committee' is the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee and 'department' is the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
(2) The duties of the committee, in determining if a proposed permanent regulation has a significant impact on small businesses, are to:
(a) direct the promulgating agency to prepare the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Section 1-23-270(C)(1) no later than the end of the public comment period that follows the notice of proposed regulation, as provided in Section 1-23-110(A)(3); and
(b) request, at the committee's discretion, the Office of Research and Statistics of the Budget and Control Board to prepare a final assessment report, as provided in Section 1-23-115(B), of the proposed permanent regulation no later than the end of the public comment period that follows the notice of proposed regulation, as provided in Section 1-23-110(A)(3). The committee may request a final assessment report from the Office of Research and Statistics only in cases where the committee determines that information in addition to the agency's economic impact as provided in Section 1-23-117(C)(1) is critical in the committee's determination that a proposed permanent regulation has a significant adverse impact on small business. The Office of Research and Statistics:
(i) within the review and comment period, shall perform a final assessment report of the regulation on small businesses within sixty days of a request for assessment by the committee, and the promulgating agency has sixty days to complete a regulatory flexibility analysis; and
(ii) may request additional information from the agency. The sixty-day final assessment report deadline must be tolled until the time that the Office of Research and Statistics receives the requested additional information. The one-year deadline for submission of regulations to the General Assembly as provided in Section 1-23-120(A) also must be tolled until the time that both analyses are prepared and presented to the committee;
(c) submit to the promulgating agency, no later than thirty days after receipt of the regulatory flexibility analysis prepared by the promulgating agency and, if requested by the committee, after receipt of the final assessment report prepared by the Office of Research and Statistics, a written statement advising the agency that a proposed permanent regulation has a significant adverse impact on small business.
(3) This subsection does not limit the committee's ability to petition a state agency to amend, revise, or revoke an existing regulation.
(4) Staff support for the committee must be provided by the department. The department shall act only as a coordinator for the committee, and may not provide legal counsel for the committee.
(B) The committee shall consist of eleven members, appointed as follows:
(1) five members to be appointed by the Governor;
(2) three members to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and
(3) three members to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(C) In addition, the Chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee of the South Carolina Senate and the Chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee of the South Carolina House of Representatives, or their designees, shall serve as nonvoting, ex officio members of the committee. During the committee review process, the director, or his designee, of the promulgating agency shall be available at the request of the committee for comment on the proposed regulation.
(D) Appointments to the committee must be representative of a variety of small businesses in this State. All appointed members shall be either current or former owners or officers of a small business.
(E) The initial appointments to the committee must be made within sixty days from the effective date of this act. The department shall provide the name and address of each appointee to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chairmen of the House and Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committees.
(F)(1) Members initially appointed to the committee shall serve for terms ending December 31, 2005. Thereafter, appointed members shall serve two-year terms that expire on December thirty-first of the second year.
(2) The Governor shall appoint the initial chairman of the committee from the appointed members for a term ending December 31, 2006, and shall appoint subsequent chairs of the committee from the appointed members for two-year terms that expire on December thirty-first of the second year.
(3) The committee shall meet as determined by its chairman.
(4) A majority of the voting members of the committee constitutes a quorum to do business. The concurrence of a majority of the members of the committee present and voting is necessary for an action of the committee to be valid.
(5) An appointed committee member may not serve more than three consecutive terms.
Section 1-23-290. (A) For promulgated regulations, the committee may file a written petition with the agency that has promulgated the regulations opposing all or part of a regulation that has a significant adverse effect on small business.
(B) Within sixty days after the receipt of the petition, the agency shall determine whether the impact statement or the public hearing addressed the actual and significant impact on small business or if conditions justifying the regulation have changed. The agency shall submit a written response of its determination to the committee within sixty days after receipt of the petition. If the agency determines that the petition merits the amendment, revision, or revocation of a regulation, the agency may initiate proceedings in accordance with the applicable requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.
(C) If the agency determines that the petition does not merit the amendment or repeal of a regulation, the committee promptly shall convene a meeting for the purpose of determining whether to recommend that the agency initiate proceedings to amend or repeal the regulation in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. The review must be based upon the actual record presented to the agency. The committee shall base its recommendation on any of the following reasons:
(1) the actual impact on small business was not reflected in, or significantly exceeded, the economic impact statement formulated by the Office of Research and Statistics, pursuant to Section 1-23-280(A)(2);
(2) the actual impact was not previously considered by the agency in its economic impact statement formulated pursuant to Section 1-23-270(C) or its regulatory flexibility analysis formulated pursuant to Section 1-23-280(A)(2); or
(3) the technology, economic conditions, or other relevant factors justifying the purpose for the regulations have changed or no longer exist.
(D) If the committee recommends that an agency initiate regulation proceedings for a reason provided in subsection (C), the committee shall submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate an evaluation report and the agency's response as provided in Section 1-23-290(B). The General Assembly may take later action in response to the evaluation report and the agency's response as the General Assembly finds appropriate.
(E)(1) Notwithstanding another provision of law, an agency authorized to assess administrative penalties or administrative fines upon a business may waive or reduce an administrative penalty or administrative fine for a violation of a regulation by a small business if the:
(a) small business corrects the violation within thirty days or less after receipt of a notice of violation or citation; or
(b) violation was the result of an excusable misunderstanding of the agency's interpretation of a regulation.
(2) Item (1) does not apply if:
(a) a small business has been notified previously of the violation of a regulation by the agency pursuant to Section 1-23-290(E)(1) and has been given an opportunity to correct the violation on a previous occasion;
(b) a small business fails to exercise good faith in complying with the regulation;
(c) a violation involves wilful or criminal conduct;
(d) a violation results in imminent or adverse health, safety, or environmental impact; or
(e) the penalty or fine is assessed pursuant to a federal law or regulation, for which a waiver or reduction is not authorized by the federal law or regulation.
(F) The Governor by Executive Order, or the General Assembly by joint resolution, or the committee pursuant to Section 1-23-119, may request an agency to review its regulations to determine if the regulations in question should be amended, repealed, or redrafted. The agency must respond to requests from the Governor or the General Assembly within ninety calendar days of receipt of the request.
Section 1-23-300. This article does not apply to proposed regulations by an agency to implement a statute or ordinance that does not require an agency to interpret or describe the requirements of the statute or ordinance, such as state legislative or federally mandated provisions that do not allow discretion to consider less restrictive alternatives or to a federal regulation that has gone through the federal regulatory flexibility act, if the federal review process is the same as or is stricter than the requirements of these sections."
SECTION 3. Section 1-23-10(7) of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 507 of 1992, is amended to read:
"(7) 'Substantial economic impact' means a financial impact upon:
(a) commercial enterprises;
(b) retail businesses;
(c) service businesses;
(e) consumers of a product or service;
(g) small businesses as defined in Section 1-23-270."
SECTION 4. Section 1-23-120(A) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 411 of 1996, is further amended to read:
"(A) All regulations except those specifically exempted
under pursuant to this section must be submitted to the General Assembly for review in accordance with this article, but no a regulation may must not be submitted to the General Assembly more than one year after publication of the drafting notice initiating the regulation pursuant to Section 1-23-110, except those regulations requiring a final assessment report as provided in Sections 1-23-270 and 1-23-280. A regulation submitted to the General Assembly for review may must not be withdrawn or modified by the agency for any reason except upon written notification by a committee that the committee by majority vote cannot approve the regulation in the form submitted, as provided for in Section 1-23-125."
SECTION 5. Section 1-23-120(B) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 231 of 2002, is further amended by adding appropriately numbered items at the end to read:
"( ) a copy of the economic impact statement, as provided in Section 1-23-270 (C)(1)(a).
( ) a copy of the regulatory flexibility analysis, as provided in Section 1-23-270(C)(1)(b)."
SECTION 6. Upon approval by the Governor, this act takes effect January 1, 2005.
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