Friday, April 16, 2010

Big changes ahead for regulations in New Jersey

 Rules and regulations

Businesses are going to see meaningful changes to New Jersey's regulatory system and see them quickly, according to top members of Governor Chris Christie's Red Tape Review Group.

The bipartisan group, which has spent 90 days reviewing New Jersey's regulatory system,  will release its report April 19 .

Speaking April 6 at a New Jersey Business and Industry Association briefing, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, State Senator Steven Oroho, and Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Scott Rumana said the State will become an easier place in which to do business. 

Guadagno told the audience that the report would recommend eliminating 8,000 civil service classifications and 200 of the State's 700 independent boards and commissions.

It would also recommend pushing what should be local regulation issues back to the towns and counties. Guadagno cited a multi-million dollar project in Wildwood that has been held up for five years because it lacks two parking spaces.

The report would also recommend streamlining the State's rule-making process to make it easier to change proposed regulations based on public comment.

NJBIA’s Capitol Memo reported today that the legislative members of the Red Tape Review Group echoed Guadagno's sentiments.

Burzichelli, chairman of the newly formed Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee, said he was particularly concerned about the use of guidance documents by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. The documents are supposed to give applicants compliance advice, but often they are enforced by agency officials as if they had the force of law. 

"People (at the DEP) were essentially setting up a second tier of regulations," Burzichelli said.

Burzichelli is sponsoring legislation, A2464,  that would clarify that guidance documents are voluntary. The measure has passed the Assembly.  He also is the sponsor of A2486 , a bill that  that would limit the circumstances under which a State agency could adopt regulations or standards that exceed comparable federal standards.

Oroho pointed out that regulations have a direct impact on the State's private-sector economy. He noted there are 26,000 pages of regulations in New Jersey, all of which have a five-year sunset provision so they can be periodically reviewed to determine if they are still needed. Yet, almost no regulations ever go away; they simply keep being renewed.


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