Editorial - Governor should sign small-business regulatory bill

Sunday, June 15, 2003

NFIB/Missouri, the state's largest small-business advocacy group, has hailed the Missouri Legislature for the bipartisan passage of legislation to allow small-business owners a greater voice in the rule-making process.

Several weeks ago, the House and the Senate gave their final approval of legislation to create a small business regulatory fairness board, sponsored by Sen. Anita Yeckel (St. Louis) and Rep. Brian Baker (Belton), and the bill has been sent to Gov. Bob Holden for his signature. Unfortunately, he has not signed it.

"A small-business regulatory fairness board would give small-business owners a voice when rules and regulations are created," said NFIB/Missouri state director Brad Jones. "With Governor Holden's signature, regulatory agencies will have to consider small businesses in the process of developing regulations, and for the first time, small-business owners will have a say on how these regulations will affect their bottom line."

The Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board would provide state agencies with input regarding proposed rules, consider requests from small-business owners for review of agency rules, review agency rules and make recommendations to the agency and General Assembly regarding the need for a rule or legislation.

It would also conduct hearings and solicit input from regulated small businesses and prepare an annual evaluation report to the General Assembly and the governor.

Appointed from various government bodies, the board members would serve a three-year term. The governor would appoint two members, and the lieutenant governor would appoint one member. The chair of the Minority Business Advocacy Commission would serve as another member. Two members would be appointed by the state House, and two members would be appointed by the state Senate. Finally, the president pro tempore of the Senate would appoint one member, and the speaker of the House would appoint another member.

Jones confirmed the importance of creating a board by explaining that regulations are often written to handle problems within a larger company and can have unintended negative effects on small businesses.

"It's about time that the small-business community has a say in how their businesses are run and how their employees are treated," said Jones.

This is a bill that should be signed by the governor and put into law.

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