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State Dems Push For Friendlier Business Regulations

California business groups have long believed the state is over-regulated. Now, there’s a new push to cut through the red tape – and it comes from a surprising source.

“You’re looking at 28,000 pages of regulation, the California Code of Regulation -- 28,000 pages,” Democratic Senator Darrel Steinberg said.

A California lawmaker holds a news conference standing next to 41 binders. He’s complaining the state is too unfriendly to business. Is it a Republican? Nope. It’s the top Democrat in the State Senate, Steinberg.

“There’s too much duplication,” Steinberg said. “There are too many agencies that, instead of working together, work consecutively, so that a process which could be cut in half sometimes takes years.”

Senate Democrats are proposing legislation to address that problem – while still protecting the state’s environmental and workforce safety laws. Specifically, it would let businesses work through the permitting process with a single state agency, instead of several. And it calls for an immediate six-month review to find duplicative regulations. Democrats crafted the measure with environmental groups and the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Matt Mahood calls it a vital part of fixing California’s budget.

“We want to see this regulatory reform happen in a timely manner,” Mayhood said. “ And if we start seeing the state and the legislature move in that direction, our board and our members are willing to support the extension of the sales tax and fees.”

The Sacramento chamber is generally considered a bit more moderate than the California chamber. The statewide chamber isn’t taking a position yet.

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