Regulatory Reform Initiatives That Have Helped Businesses Across Massachusetts Expand And Succeed
Nation-leading regulatory reform process has led to 255 executive branch regulations being amended or eliminated; all 1,791 regulations reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness
BOSTON – Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Building on a regulatory reform effort that has already made doing business in Massachusetts easier for thousands of businesses, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that 255 executive branch regulations have been amended or eliminated, streamlining and improving the licensing process and business climate for thousands of professional licensees throughout Massachusetts.
“Our collective growth and prosperity depends on the growth and prosperity of our small businesses,” said Governor Patrick. “These common-sense changes are positive steps forward in improving the business climate by striking a better balance between protecting consumers and communities and enabling innovators to start and grow companies here in the Commonwealth.”
The Governor also announced that all 1,791 executive branch regulations in existence as of January 2012 have been reviewed for efficiencies and effectiveness. In October 2011, Governor Patrick announced the Administration’s thorough process of reviewing rules and regulations, focusing on finding regulations that are duplicative, out-of-date or in need of update and creating the changes necessary to improve or eliminate those regulations. This review is the first comprehensive effort of its kind in Massachusetts history, and one of the first completed reviews in the Nation, allowing the Patrick Administration to make substantial strides to ease the cost of doing business in Massachusetts. With this comprehensive review of regulations across state government complete, nearly 15 percent of all regulations have had some action taken.
The initiative included a comprehensive review and re-evaluation of existing regulations, a systematic and coordinated process for regulators to consider economic impacts for newly-proposed regulations, public reporting of small business impacts for all regulatory changes to improve transparency during the public rule-making process and partnerships with the regulated community to share responsibility for creating a balanced regulatory environment.
“The Administration’s regulatory reform initiative has removed unnecessary barriers to starting a small business,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Enhancing efficiencies in government operations is not only good practice but it also promotes growth and opportunity in the Commonwealth.”
Today’s announcement, made at the Boston Lobster Company, also called attention to a 2013 reform by the Department of Fish & Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to allow the sale of frozen shell-on lobster tails that weigh three ounces or greater in the Commonwealth. The Administration’s support for this business friendly measure benefits the commercial lobster industry, the second most valuable fishery in Massachusetts, and Massachusetts restaurants.
“The commercial lobster industry has a rich history in Massachusetts,” said Undersecretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Martin Suuberg. “Throughout his time in office, Governor Patrick has been committed to preserving this important and iconic Commonwealth industry for generations to come, and this regulatory reform effort is yet another example of his unwavering commitment to our fishermen. We look forward to the important benefits these changes will have for the lobster industry in Massachusetts.”
“In order for our small businesses to grow and thrive in the Commonwealth, we need to make every effort to remove any unnecessary regulatory barriers that may stand in their way or disadvantage them in favor of their competitors online or across the border,” said Jon Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “With the Governor's efforts through this process, we have seen some common sense injected into the regulatory agencies and have truly seen some real reform that removes some of the burden on our local employers. I applaud Governor Patrick and his team for their success and look forward to continuing this effort, so that we can keep pace as the global economy and marketplace continues to evolve.”
Significant regulatory reforms by the Patrick Administration since January 2012 include:
- MassDOT has standardized permitting and police escort fees for oversized loads on Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, a move that allows for freer transit of trucks while still maintaining public safety parameters; permits online filing for permits; makes it easier to approve request for access to MassDOT property, including curb cuts and other construction access permits; and allows online filing for permits.
- Some of the most significant changes have come through the repeal of certain Massachusetts Health Connector’s regulations, including the elimination of the Fair Share Contribution requirement, the elimination of the Employer Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure form and the elimination of the requirement that employers offer section 125 plans to pay for coverage through their group health plan or through the Health Connector on a pre-tax basis or be subjected to a surcharge. Each of these regulations burdened employers of all sizes.
- The Department of Environmental Protection has repealed a duplicative approval process for certain Title V septic systems. The amendments streamline state oversight by ending the requirement that local approving authorities consult with DEP before determining whether facilities asserted to be in separate ownership are in fact a single facility. These changes clarify and modernize regulatory language and reduce costs for residential construction.
- The Division of Professional Licensure Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors adopted model national professional standards of practice. Regulatory changes reflect technological advances in the licensed professions, such as the use of digitized seals and signatures. These changes will translate into reduce costs and shortened project timeframes.
- The Department of Public Health adopted a model National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) examination and certification; reduced licensure fees; allowed online licensure filing; made changes to EMT scope of practice and training standards; required accreditation of paramedic-level training institutions through Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program; and extended hospital affiliation agreement requirements to Basic Life Support ambulance services. Private ambulance companies and hospitals will benefit from the adoption of national accreditation standards and online filing.
- The Department of Public Safety (DPS) amended regulations overseeing ice cream truck operators. Previously, any truck operating in more than one municipality had to obtain a license from each city or town. Now, a driver may apply for a single DPS license which will permit the sale of ice cream in any municipality in the Commonwealth.
More information on the Patrick Administrations Nation-leading regulatory reform efforts can be found at www.mass.gov/