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Snyder signs legislation to eliminate red tape, reduce regulatory burden on small businesses
Bill tying state regulations to federal standards draws veto
LANSING, Mich. - The Department of Environmental Quality will need to provide reasons for denying permits and regularly review regulations to determine if they are still necessary under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder Monday, a change the governor said will help make Michigan a more competitive place for small businesses to create jobs by eliminating government red tape and reducing overly burdensome restrictions.
One bill in the legislative package drew a veto, however, over concerns it would undermine the state's ability to deal with situations unique to Michigan by preventing the state from implementing any regulation stricter than federal standards.
"Since taking office nearly a year ago, we've made great progress streamlining regulations in our effort to reinvent Michigan," Snyder said. "Working together with lawmakers, government is working hard to ensure our citizens, businesses and communities get the customer service they need and deserve."
The governor signed the following five bills, all of which were approved with bipartisan support.
House Bill 4017, sponsored by state Rep. Dave Agema, requires the Department of Environmental Quality to provide an annual report to the Legislature detailing the sampling methods it uses to select individuals for inspection, in order to ensure the process is fair and individuals are not unfairly targeted. Additionally, the legislation requires the DEQ to inform the target of an inspection why they were selected and provide an opportunity for feedback. The bill is now Public Act 235 of 2011.
H.B. 4042, sponsored by state Rep. Greg MacMaster, requires the DEQ to provide specific reasons for denying a permit, including references to regulations and scientific information when applicable. H.B. 4043, also sponsored by MacMaster, solidifies a current DEQ practice of offering to meet with permit holders prior to initiating any enforcement action. The bills are now P.A.s 236 and 237.
H.B. 4500, sponsored by state Rep. Eileen Kowall, creates standards for state departments to regularly review rules to ensure they are still necessary and relevant. The bill is now P.A. 238.
H.B. 4573, sponsored by state Rep. Gail Haines, helps protect against overregulation by requiring an agency's request for rule-making to include the decision record of an advisory committee, if applicable, so that the Office of Regulatory Reinvention can determine whether there is a necessary basis for approving the rule-making request. It is now P.A. 239.
Only H.B. 4326, sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Farrington, was returned to the Legislature without Snyder's signature.
In a letter to the Legislature explaining his reasons for the veto, Snyder expressed concern that tying regulations to federal standards would prevent the state from meeting the specific needs of Michigan citizens and businesses, and would hamper the state's ability to protect the environment. As an example, Snyder pointed out that the state crafted a ballast water treatment standard that allows for zero discharge of ballast water containing invasive species, which far exceeds Coast Guard and EPA standards that have failed to protect our waters as evidenced by the presence of more than 200 forms of invasive species.
Similarly, Michigan is currently the only state that mandates ID on its cattle herd, a requirement that allows the state to maintain market access and achieve TB-free status in 72 counties. This requirement clearly exceeds federal standards but is key to protecting Michigan's agricultural industry, Snyder said.
Despite the veto, Snyder reiterated his desire to continue working with the Legislature to eliminate overly burdensome regulations. The governor said he could not support an across-the-board prohibition against any regulation more stringent than the federal government's minimum standards.
Detailed descriptions of the bills Snyder signed into law may be found online at www.legislature.mi.gov.
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