An Act To Streamline Advocacy for Maine Small Businesses by Relocating the Bureau of the Special Advocate within the Department of the Secretary of State to the Department of Economic and Community Development
Sec. 1. 5 MRSA c. 5, sub-c. 2, as amended, is repealed.
Sec. 2. 5 MRSA §12004-I, sub-§2-G, as amended by PL 2011, c. 304, Pt. D, §3, is further amended to read:
|Regulatory Fairness Board
|5 MRSA § 90-T 13063-Y
Sec. 3. 5 MRSA c. 383, sub-c. 2, art. 2-D is enacted to read:
§ 13063-S. Bureau established
The Bureau of the Special Advocate, referred to in this article as "the bureau," is established within the department to assist in resolving regulatory enforcement actions affecting small businesses that, if taken, are likely to result in significant economic hardship and to advocate for small business interests in other regulatory matters.
§ 13063-T. Definitions
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 13063-U. Special advocate; appointment and qualifications
The commissioner shall appoint a special advocate to carry out the purposes of this article. The special advocate shall serve at the pleasure of the commissioner.
§ 13063-V. Small business requests for assistance
A small business may file a complaint requesting the assistance of the special advocate in any agency enforcement action initiated against that small business. The special advocate may provide assistance to the small business in accordance with section 13063-W, subsection 2. The special advocate shall encourage small businesses to request the assistance of the special advocate as early in the regulatory proceeding as possible. Before providing any assistance, the special advocate shall provide a written disclaimer to the small business stating that the special advocate is not acting as an attorney representing the small business, that no attorney-client relationship is established and that no attorney-client privilege can be asserted by the small business as a result of the assistance provided by the special advocate under this article.
§ 13063-W. Power and duties of the special advocate
§ 13063-X. Regulatory impact notice
At the recommendation of the special advocate, the commissioner may issue a regulatory impact notice to the Governor informing the Governor that an agency has initiated an agency enforcement action that is likely to result in significant economic hardship to a small business when an alternative means of enforcement was possible, and asking that the Governor take action, as appropriate and in a manner consistent with all applicable laws, to address the small business issues raised by that agency enforcement action. The regulatory impact notice may include, but is not limited to, a description of the role of the special advocate in attempting to resolve the issue with the agency, a description of how the agency enforcement action will affect the interests of the small business and a description of how an alternative enforcement action, when permitted by law, would relieve the small business of the significant economic hardship expected to result from the agency enforcement action. The commissioner shall provide a copy of the regulatory impact notice to the agency that initiated the agency enforcement action, the small business that made the complaint and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over the agency.
§ 13063-Y. Regulatory Fairness Board
The Regulatory Fairness Board, as established in §12004-I, section 2-G and referred to in this section as "the board," is established within the department to hear testimony and to report to the Legislature and the Governor at least annually on regulatory and statutory changes necessary to enhance the State's business climate.
The commissioner shall inform the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over business matters in writing upon the appointment of each member. Except for the commissioner, an officer or employee of State Government may not be a member of the board.
Sec. 4. Transition. Members serving on the Regulatory Fairness Board, established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, section 12004-I, subsection 2-G, on the effective date of this Act continue to serve for the remainder of the terms for which they were appointed.
This bill relocates the Bureau of the Special Advocate from the Department of the Secretary of State to the Department of Economic and Community Development.