At a time when unemployment is skyrocketing and the economy is dwindling, I can’t help but be filled with the smallest amount of joy and hope when I see the government making changes that will actually benefit the public instead of harming them. On March 9th, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland submitted to the Administrative Executive and Legislative Review Committee a total of 131 state regulations to be repealed, revised, or streamlined.
Starting back in October of 2011, Governor O’Malley had each and every Maryland state agency compose a comprehensive review of all of their respective regulations in an effort to identify redundant regulations, as well as to identify regulations that could be modified, repealed, or combined. The hope being that a clearer and more concise regulatory framework will emerge and thus reduce any unnecessary burdens Maryland regulations may have been placing on businesses. In turn, this will jumpstart job creation and give a much needed boost to the state’s economy.
Looking to gain insight from local businesses and workers, O’Malley set up a forum on the website: Maryland Made Easy in which the public can contribute comments, suggestions, or criticism. Receiving more than 350 comments, the comments were then funneled into their respective agencies and offices for consideration.
Governor O’Malley has said about the proposed reforms, these will make it, “Easier to do business in Maryland… Because of the tough choices we have made together over the last six years, unemployment is down to a three year low, we have recovered 45 percent of the jobs lost during the recession and Maryland’s businesses are creating jobs again…”
Regulations currently being considered for repeal include:
-A regulation requiring a permit for “dispensing” clean water in any amount higher than 10,000 gallons per day.
-Sixteen regulations within the Department of Natural resources that have deemed to be redundancies.
-Multiple regulations prohibiting smoking in elevators that have become obsolete since Maryland became a smoke-free state.
-Seven regulations within the Maryland Department of Agriculture that have been identified as obsolete.
If revised, some of the regulations under review could result in:
-A regulation in the State Highway Association making it easier for small businesses and restaurants (as opposed to more financially privileged corporations and chains) to advertise on highway logo signs.
-Six Regulations within the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene/Office of Health Care Quality making better service and better access to new medical technology more readily available.
-A regulation within the Public Service Communication being reformed so that the use of the telegraph is no longer listed as an option when selecting a form of communication. (This is obviously long overdue!)
Regulations currently being considered for streamlining include:
-A regulation within the Maryland Department of the Environment that will lower the operation costs of gasoline stations by more than $5 million annually, while at the same time lowering the cost of construction of new stations by $700,000 annually.
-A regulation in the Public Service Commission and the Department of the Environment that would save between $40,000 and $50,000 in waiver fees for construction projects.
It is exciting to see Republicans and Democrats understanding the importance of having regulations streamlined, reviewed, and condensed. With more regulation, comes more red tape, paperwork, and burden hours. Watching the intelligent changes being made in Maryland we can only hope this will set the stage for other states to follow suit.
By: Conor O’Malley