OSBC Supports Newly Introduced Rule Reform Legislation

Yesterday, Senator Joe Uecker introduced Senate Bill 221, legislation that would reform agency rulemaking and provide businesses with greater protection from potentially harmful rules and regulations.  SB 221 is similar to SB 303 and HB 503, companion bills that were introduced last year but unfortunately failed to receive passage before the legislature adjourned for the year.

Several provisions developed and championed by OSBC are included in the newly introduced legislation.  Here is a brief description of each of the five provisions and how they may benefit your business:

  • Requirement that state agencies review and identify all internal policy documents, memos, information releases or any other publication that may currently be administered as a rule. This provision will ultimately prevent agencies from circumventing the rulemaking process and will no longer allow them to enforce or administer certain policies as if they were rules.
  • Requirement that any external document or manual referenced within a rule must be available to the requester at no cost. The agency must post the referenced document online or provide a hard copy to stakeholders.
  • Expanding the definition of an adverse impact on business to include any rule that is likely to reduce revenue or increase expenses. This broader definition will give businesses more assurance that a thorough review of proposed rules is conducted.
  • Allowing a stakeholder to request that a rule be reviewed prior to its normal five-year review if they can maintain that they have experienced unintended or unforeseen adverse impacts to their business. The speed of business is faster than that of government, thus, five years is a long time to wait when a business is suffering adverse impacts.
  • If a new rule includes a fee it must be reasonably related to the cost incurred by the agency. This will prevent agencies from profiting from fees and then redirecting the monies elsewhere.

I am now seeking Ohio Chamber member companies with fewer than 400 employees to offer examples of instances in which you were impacted by agency rules.  Additionally, if you would be willing to testify in-person or submit a letter of support for SB 221 please contact me at bogden@ohiochamber.com or 614-629-0924.