The state House overwhelmingly passed a regulatory reform bill May 3 developed by the legislature's manufacturing caucus and the Commerce Committee.

HB 7063 requires state agencies, when proposing regulations, to provide in advance of the required public hearing a plain language summary and/or flow chart describing the regulation, and identifying key compliance requirements.

This helps businesses—particularly small businesses without legal or consulting staff—to determine if the regulation affects them, and assess their compliance requirements.

HB 7063 also requires the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to waive penalties for certain first-time, minor environmental regulatory violations.

Connecticut's manufacturing industry is a primary driver of the state's economy, creating jobs and economic growth.

Improving the regulatory climate to ensure regulations are clearer and not punishing small businesses for minor, first-time violations will help manufacturers, who have long complained of overly complex regulations and punitive enforcement.

Connecticut manufacturing is a primary driver of the state's economy, creating jobs and economic growth.
Here are just a few examples of the first-time violations for which the state has fined companies thousands of dollars:

  • Having someone initial a compliance log instead of signing it with their full name
  • Having the label on a 55-gallon drum facing the wrong direction
  • Failing to return a fallen “no smoking” sign to its original location

Penalty Waivers

The bill makes clear that the state cannot waive penalties for willful or grossly negligent violations, or those that result in harm to human health or the environment.

In addition, state agencies could not waive penalties mandated by federal law, including any required as a condition of receiving federal funding.

Connecticut would not be the first state to consider waiving penalties for minor first-time violations.

For example, the states of Ohio and Washington waive penalties for some minor first-time violations, and North Carolina’s Department of Revenue Services forgives some first-time violations of its tax laws.

Even the federal Internal Revenue Service provides regulatory relief for some first-time violations.

HB 7063 passed the House 138-10 and now goes to the state Senate.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown (860.244.1926) | @CBIAericb