Contact: Lawrence Cook
March 20, 2012
A bill that could ultimately waive fines and penalties on businesses for first-time violations of state laws and regulations received its public hearing before the Commerce Committee today, and committee Co-Chairman Senator Gary D. LeBeau (D-East Hartford) said the proposal is yet another indication that the state legislature is open to working with state businesses in a constructive and proactive manner.
“This bill sends a signal to state businesses that says we want to work with you, not against you,” Sen. LeBeau said. “We can simultaneously ensure compliance—and a healthy state environment and business climate—while saving the truly punitive measures for repeat and flagrant offenders.”
House Bill 5530, proposes that by January 1, 2013, the state Departments of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Public Health jointly submit a report with their recommendations for legislative changes to allow each agency to abate any civil penalties and fines assessed by them on a Connecticut business for a first-time violation of a state regulation or statute, when such business takes full remedial measures not later than 30 days after the fine is assessed. The bill essentially permits businesses to address first-time violations without penalty if those violations are fixed within 30 days.
Two businesses representatives submitted written testimony in support of the measure.
“Passage of this legislation will go a long way toward ensuring a better regulatory environment and a better working relationship between state agencies and small businesses in Connecticut, the majority of whom want to do the right thing and quickly remediate any inadvertent noncompliance,” said Andy Markowski, Connecticut state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Eric Brown, general counsel for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the CBIA “strongly supports” the bill. “We consistently urged the Department of Environmental Protection, under several administrations, to focus more of its limited resources on helping small businesses understand the massive number of state and federal environmental regulations for which they have compliance responsibility and for which they can suffer civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation per day,” Brown wrote.
Member: Legislative Management
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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