Sarlo/Van Drew Bill To Give Small Businesses Greater Power To Fight Detrimental Regulations Advances

Measure Would Also Clearly Delineate Path for Regulatory Challenges

TRENTON – The Senate Economic Growth Committee today released legislation Senators Paul Sarlo and Jeff Van Drew sponsored to broaden the ability of a small business to challenge bureaucratic rules and regulations it believes are detrimental to business.

Under current state law – the Regulatory Flexibility Act – state agencies must seek to create regulatory structures that accomplish the goals of a law while minimizing adverse impacts on businesses which employ 100 or fewer people, including allowing differing compliance and reporting requirements as well as regulatory exemptions. The Sarlo/Van Drew measure (A-2129/S-1336) would broaden the Act’s definition of “small business” to also include those which have gross annual sales of less than $6 million.

“Our law must not only have a realistic approach to defining which businesses are actually ‘small businesses,’ but it must also give them a clear path for challenging a state rule,” said Sarlo (D-Bergen). “Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy, and will be relied upon to create the majority of new jobs we will need in the future. We must give them the chance to fight for their survival when a bureaucratic decision puts them at a disadvantage.”

The measure would clearly delineate the process by which a regulatory appeal would be make, allowing a small business to petition the agency within 90 days after the date of its final rulemaking action on a claim that the agency failed to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis or that the analysis either omitted information or otherwise drew an erroneous conclusion.

Agencies receiving a challenge would be required to determine whether the petition has merit and respond within 45 days of its receipt.

“We need to give small businesses a clearly defined chance to challenge well-meaning but unfair regulations that may put their survival at risk,” said Van Drew (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “More private sector employees work for small businesses than anywhere else in New Jersey. The less time small businesses have to spend wading through red tape, the more time they will have to dedicate to creating jobs and building a better economic future for our state.”

The bill was released 6-0, and now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.