Georgia Republicans announce initiative to streamline government, ease regulations



(The Center Square) — Republican state senators promised to roll back regulations on small businesses, a group of policies they say would streamline state government and lessen regulations.

The “Red Tape Rollback” ranges from asking for “detailed studies” — a “Small Business Impact Analysis” — of legislation to amending the Administrative Procedure Act to expand the definition of a small business from 100 to 300 employees, a move proponents say would lead to fewer reporting requirements.

Proponents say it would also eliminate duplicative boards and commissions, making the state government more efficient.

“For years, I’ve always talked about during the second … portion of a biennial [legislative session], we ought to be looking at ways to help businesses reduce burdensome regulations and eliminate as much red tape as possible through the legislative process,” Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, a Republican, said during a media conference. Jones teased the initiative during Americans for Prosperity-GA’s inaugural Pathway to Prosperity Summit event earlier this year.

“They won’t make a lot of big headlines, but they will be very beneficial to small businesses around our state,” Jones added.

Lawmakers pointed to Senate Bill 157 as a part of the initiative, which the state Senate passed last year, but the House did not.

It “creates a uniform process for how criminal records are considered by licensing boards, making certain that only those past offenses that directly related to the field of employment and the safety of the public are used against an applicant,” state Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, said during the news conference. “It also streamlines the appeal process for those that are denied a license to make sure they can actually navigate the system without having a skilled attorney.”

In response to the “Red Tape Rollback” announcement, National Federation of Independent Business State Director Hunter Loggins said the proposal “should make it easier for people to own and operate a small business in Georgia.”

“The proposed legislation includes provisions that would give the General Assembly greater power to oversee and review proposed state regulations and eliminate defunct or duplicative regulatory boards and commissions,” Loggins said in a statement.

“We believe the state should allow entrepreneurs to focus less on bureaucratic obstacles and concentrate more on running their small businesses,” Loggins added. “We look forward to seeing the draft legislation and are eager to work with Lieutenant Governor Jones and legislative leaders next year to ensure this commonsense package is passed into law.”



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