On Wednesday, the Director of the Ohio Chamber’s Ohio Small Business Council testified in support of Senate Bill 221, legislation aimed at protecting businesses from harmful rules and regulations. Rule and regulatory reform is a public policy priority for the Ohio Chamber and the Ohio Small Business Council (OSBC) as we have been told by numerous members that they remain fearful of what state agencies could impose on their businesses.
The Ohio Chamber’s testimony highlighted the five key provisions of SB 221 which were derived from our members:
- Prevents state agencies from bypassing the rulemaking process by requiring them to release their internal policies, information releases and guidance documents
- Expands the definition of what is considered an adverse impact on business to include any rule that is likely to reduce revenue or increase expenses
- Provides businesses an opportunity to request a review of a rule prior to the normal five-year review if they believe it has harmed their business
- Ensures that any fees within a new rule must be related to the cost incurred by the agency
- Requires that any manual or other document referenced within a rule must be available at no cost to the requestor
In addition to the Ohio Chamber, OSBC member Tom Secor of Durable Corporation testified before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee as a proponent of SB 221. Mr. Secor has owned Durable Corporation, a small manufacturer in Norwalk, Ohio, for decades and does not want to see other small businesses face the same challenges he experienced with a state regulatory agency. During his testimony he stated, “in my opinion, the most important piece of SB 221 would be to give JCARR the ability to accelerate the 5 year rule review and order the agency to present the rules for review and if the committee decides the rules are not within the express scope of the statute they can move to invalidate. So when the regulator enters a business and informs them of their violations that they knew nothing about, there is a possible recourse for the small business person to consider.” Mr. Secor’s viewpoint stems from an EPA scrap tire rule that had an unforeseen adverse impact on his business and ultimately led to the layoff of 40 of his employees.
OSBC believes that SB 221 is a way to build upon the great work that CSI has already been doing but will provide the office with even more breadth in which to operate. Furthermore, given the fact that Governor Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor have only 13 months left in office, passing SB 221 will provide more certainty that the next administration will emphasize and prioritize CSI and other regulatory reduction efforts.