CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Senate today moved toward introducing a package of bills designed to completely overhaul the state’s regulatory and rulemaking processes.
The Senate Government Organization committee heard from a panel of speakers today representing the West Virginia Business and Industry Council, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.
An online survey conducted in November by various West Virginia business organizations regarding West Virginia’s regulatory environment found a need for reform. According to the responses the groups received, 75 percent of those surveyed believe there is too much bureaucratic red tape that affects their businesses.
“We have been in the bottom ten states on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best States for Business for the last six years, and we’ve finally hit the bottom,” said Senator Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, chairman of the Senate Government Organization Committee. “I believe we have so many regulations that we’re actually discouraging companies from coming here. They simply don’t want the headache.”
When fully introduced, the regulatory reform package will include 10 bills that deal with everything from small business regulations to the environment.
“We are trying to do what’s best for West Virginia, and that includes not unfairly burdening businesses with rules and regulations that go above and beyond existing federal laws,” Senator Blair said. “This is the kind of common-sense approach to getting our state’s economy on track, and a rather easy way we all should be able to support. It should never be too difficult to own and operate a business in West Virginia because of bureaucratic red tape.”
Last week, the House of Delegates passed HB 4002, which relates to rulemaking under the state Administrative Procedures Act. It would create a sunset provision for any modified or new rules after five years, and after appropriate review. It is pending before the Senate Government Organization Committee.