Markell signs into law regulatory reform bills

DOVER — Gov. Jack Markell signed into law Wednesday three bipartisan bills that aim to reduce government regulations.

One proposal requires a regular review of agency rules, while two others deal with government’s impact on small business.

In his January State of the State, Gov. Markell pledged to “continue to eliminate red tape that inhibits growth” and urged lawmakers to back legislation on that front.

“Together, these three bills will improve transparency, increase accountability and make life easier for small businesses,” the governor said in a statement. “Today, as evidenced by the unanimous passage of this legislation, my administration and members of the General Assembly are speaking with a unified voice in support of these goals.

“Although regulations are sometimes necessary, we must strive to ensure that they do not place unnecessary burdens upon individuals and businesses. This package of legislation, which includes good ideas from legislators on both sides of the aisle, builds upon our previous successful efforts to reduce red tape and improve Delaware’s business climate.”

House Bill 147 mandates cabinet agencies, such as the Department of Education, review their regulations every four years. It comes out of Executive Order No. 36, which led to changes in more than 100 agency rules in 2013.

Senate Bill 113 and Senate Bill 120 make up the so-called Regulatory Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015, which mandates every state agency develop an estimate of the impact proposed regulations would have on small businesses. Projected costs would have to be considered.

“This legislation calls on each agency to perform a thorough analysis of new regulations to ensure they don’t impose unreasonable burdens on our business community,” said Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 120. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and this bill will ensure that Delaware remains a place where they can grow and prosper.”

Procedural reviews must begin by Jan. 1, 2016, for the regulatory bill, and the other two bills go into effect on that date.

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