One key to making Connecticut more economically competitive is with continuous innovation in the thinking and procedures associated with state regulatory adoption process.
Experience shows that when draft regulations are developed through a collaborative process with a focus on achieving policy goals and legislative directives in a manner least burdensome to job creators, outcomes are generally positive for all involved.
Some progress toward easing the regulatory burden on businesses has already taken place, including advances resulting from an executive order issued by Gov. Malloy in October 2013. However, much work remains.
Competitors Not Standing Still
Usually ranked as having a better regulatory climate than Connecticut, Massachusetts is nevertheless pushing hard to keep improving.
In March, Gov. Baker issued an executive order requiring each agency to review its regulations and sunset all those that are not essential to the health, safety, environment, or welfare of the state’s residents.
Regulations that are not sunsetted must be modified, if necessary, to ensure they’re clear, concise, and written in plain, readily understandable language.
Rhode Island recently hired Macky McCleary, former deputy commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to run its Office of Business Regulation with a mandate to make the state more business friendly in order to attract investment and encourage existing businesses to grow.
Bills Would Move Connecticut Up
Lawmakers have an opportunity this year to take another step toward making our regulatory climate more competitive with neighboring states.
SB 961 and HB 7055 include language that speaks directly to streamlining the regulatory development process.
When proposing to regulate activity for which a federal standard or procedure already exists, agencies would have to start their drafting process with the federal regulation and provide a rational, defensible reason for deviating from it.
Both bills would require agencies to articulate their rationale for deviating from existing federal standards in a document made available to the public at the time of the public hearing notice on the proposed regulation.
This simple measure would help agencies carefully consider their reasons for going beyond federal requirements and allow the regulated community to easily identify what they need to do beyond federal requirements in order to comply with Connecticut’s regulations—thereby increasing the likelihood of compliance, which is everyone’s goal.