Bill allows business owners grace period to fix federal regulation violations
Michigan's newest member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, is introducing his first bill.
Under the measure, small businesses could avoid sanctions for violating federal regulations if they correct the problem within a required time period.
"For the 89 percent of employers in America with fewer than 20 employees, there is an ever-present fear that they may be sanctioned or even put out of business for a violation of any one of the seemingly endless array of federal regulations," Rep. Bentivolio said. "The list is so long, at over 80,000 pages, that it is almost unknowable.
"This bill is transformational, yet quite simple," he said. "It takes on the fundamental question of prior restraint, across the board. It acknowledges the small business owner's natural inclination is to obey the law, protect the community, and ensure the safety of his or her employees."
The legislation has been titled the Protect Small Business Jobs Act of 2013. If enacted, small businesses found guilty of violating federal regulations would be given six months to correct the problem. If the problem were corrected in that time frame, the business would not be penalized. The legislation allows for an additional three month extension if the business is making a good-faith effort to correct the problem.
Rep. Bentivolio said the bill was drafted in a way that repeat offenders could not take advantage of it and the legislation would not apply to cases of imminent danger.
"This way, no business is permitted to ignore regulations on an ongoing basis, but small companies are given a chance to become compliant without being hit by devastating fines," Rep. Bentivolio said. "We view this as a common-sense, bipartisan bill by every measure."
Rep. Bentivolio said the legislation was developed with input from small business groups and former Small Business Association officials. He said it should receive bipartisan support.
"It encourages the great American tradition of entrepreneurship and competition in an age when most Americans believe the government favors the large business at the expense of the small business," Rep. Bentivolio said. “Small businesses account for two out of every three new jobs created in America over the last 30 years.”
Rep. Bentivolio said he is seeking co-sponsors for the bill and pursuing the introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.