Today's Law As Amended


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SB-1457 Small businesses: reduction or waiver of civil penalties for violation of regulations or statutes.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 3.7 (commencing with Section 11367) is added to Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, to read:

CHAPTER  3.7. California Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act
11367.
 The following terms shall have the following meanings for purposes of this chapter:
(a) “Small business” means a business that is all of the following:
(1) Independently owned and operated.
(2) Not dominant in its field of operation.
(3) Has fewer than 100 employees.
(4) Has average annual gross receipts of fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) or less over the previous three years.
(b) “State agency” means any state agency, department, board, or commission that has significant rulemaking authority over small businesses, except the Franchise Tax Board, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, or the State Board of Equalization.
11367.1.
 (a) By January 1, 2022, a state agency shall establish a policy to provide for the reduction or waiver of civil penalties for violations of regulatory or statutory requirements by a small business under certain circumstances. This section is limited to civil penalties for which a state agency has discretion as to the amount, type, or imposition of the penalty.
(b) The policy shall be applied to a violation by a small business that meets the following criteria:
(1) The violation did not involve willful or criminal conduct.
(2) The violation did not pose a serious health, safety, or environmental threat.
(c) The policy shall include the factors that the state agency shall use to determine if, and to what extent, the civil penalties shall be reduced or waived. The policy shall be designed to result in a waiver or a range of reductions, based upon factors that include, but are not limited to:
(1) The degree to which the small business cooperated during any investigation by the state agency.
(2) The degree to which the small business engaged in subsequent action to correct the violation, as appropriate.
(3) The prior history of the small business in meeting regulatory requirements of the agency.
(4) The degree to which the level of the penalty would impede the small business from continuing to conduct business.
(5) The degree to which the small “‘business’” actions were negligent.
(d) The state agency may apply conditions to the reduction or waiver of penalties, including, but not limited to, requiring the small business to take corrective action or attend training.
(e) The state agency may adopt regulations or other administrative documents appropriate to implement this chapter.
(f) The state agency may update the policy from time to time to reflect current issues and conditions affecting small businesses and the state agency.
(g) The state agency shall post a current copy of the policy on the state agency’s internet website within 30 days of adoption or amendment of the policy.
(h) The state agency shall annually post a utilization report on its internet website that includes the aggregate number and category of enforcement actions that were reviewed pursuant to this section, the total number of small businesses and actions that qualified for civil penalty reductions or waivers in the report period, and the total dollar amount of reductions and waivers issued.
(i) (1) The state agency shall notify the Office of Small Business Advocate within 15 working days of any the following situations occurring:
(A) The policy is adopted or amended.
(B) The annual utilization report is posted.
(C) The policy or the annual utilization report is relocated from the state agency’s internet website. The notice shall include a link to the new internet website location.
(D) The policy or the annual utilization report is removed from the state agency’s internet website. The notice shall include an explanation as to why the information was removed.
(2) The notice shall include a link to the policy and utilization report specified in subdivision (h).
11367.2.
 This chapter shall become operative only upon the Legislature making an appropriation to implement the provisions of this chapter.