Committee reviewing state regulations issues reportBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
January 22. 2018 8:13PM
CONCORD — A committee appointed last year by Gov. Chris Sununu to conduct in-depth reviews of state regulations and recommend changes has issued its first report.
The report includes recommendations for the 2018 Legislative Session, additional non-legislative actions for Sununu to consider, and a brief outline of additional regulatory areas the committee plans to examine further.
The centerpiece of the committee’s list of 2018 legislative recommendations is a proposal for a comprehensive regulatory reform bill, HB 1104, to address permitting processes, occupational and professional licensure, business formation and startups, inconsistencies between state and local building and fire codes, and compliance reviews for foster homes.
The committee’s current draft of HB 1104 will be introduced at a hearing of the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee today.
“The Regulatory Reform Steering Committee has put forth some excellent recommendations that will go a long way toward streamlining government and changing the regulatory culture in New Hampshire,” said Sununu in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with the committee, legislative leaders, and stakeholders as we go through the legislative process and work toward passing the committee’s recommendations into law. These proposals represent some of the most comprehensive regulatory reform efforts that New Hampshire has ever seen, and we are just getting started.”
“In a highly competitive national economy, to remain unique and maximize our advantage as a small state, New Hampshire must transition to a modern and responsible regulatory process administered by an accountable state government with predictable timelines and solution-oriented practices,” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs.
“This important report is the first of what I hope will be many more that take us in a bold direction as a state and maximize the New Hampshire Advantage.”
As currently drafted, HB 1104 would:
• Provide for reciprocal licensure in New Hampshire for all persons licensed to practice an occupation or profession in another state.
• Reduce certain processing timelines for wetlands permits.
• Reduce the retroactive enforcement period for property owners who acquire property where wetlands violations have taken place.
• Empower and require the Department of Environmental Services to establish a Certified Application Preparer Program for smaller wetlands projects, allowing for expedited processing of projects determined to have minimum impact — the vast majority of projects, according to committee members.
• Reduce the processing timeline for wetlands projects in public waterways.
• Allow an agency to extend the processing timeline for any permit only upon written agreement of the applicant.
• Require the Secretary of State to make online filing available for all required forms for corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and non-profits by Jan. 1, 2020.
• Amend the statute for the state building code to not conflict with the state fire code.
• Prohibit municipalities from adopting regulations that would lead to conflicts in their local building codes and fire codes.
• Give the State Fire Marshal sole authority to make final decisions on foster homes’ compliance with state fire safety laws and local ordinances.
The steering committee includes Caswell, Commissioner of Administrative Services Charlie Arlinghaus, House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, State Sen. Gary Daniels, State Rep. Peter Leishman, former Senate President Tom Eaton, and Salem businessman Ed Huminick.
A copy of the report can be viewed below. It can also be accessed at https://www.governor.nh.gov/news-media/press-2018/documents/20180122-regulator-reform-steering.pdf.