Governor Patrick eases small business rules

Governor Deval Patrick announced Monday that his administration has taken steps to eliminate or revise approximately 150 regulations that state agencies have identified as barriers to the growth of small businesses, and by year’s end will review about 1,000 regulations.

“All business is burdened when regulations are unnecessary and complex, especially small businesses,’’ Patrick said in remarks before The Alliance for Business Leadership, a group formally known as the Progressive Business Leaders Network.

Patrick said he would look to the business community for help in suggesting regulations to be revised or thrown out.


“The government cannot and should not do this work alone,’’ he said.

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As agencies review existing regulations, Patrick also will require state officials to show how proposed rules will affect small businesses. The state will conduct a “small business impact analysis’’ before approving each proposed rule, Patrick said.

To help simplify business regulations, Patrick named April Anderson Lamoureux, an assistant undersecretary for economic development, as the administration’s point person on this issue. The state expects to review 2,000 regulations by the end of 2013.

“The idea is to make Massachusetts a little more business-friendly,’’ Anderson Lamoureux said. “So that is exactly what we are doing here.’’

Chris Pinney, senior vice president of The Alliance for Business Leadership, said he thought announcing these changes was a good start, but that all levels of government needed to follow suit. “Part of the challenge on regulation is going to be the coordination of the state, federal, and local level,’’ he said. “A lot of the problems around permitting are at the municipal level.’’


Forty-one regulations will be taken off the books, and another 107 are targeted for updating. Patrick ordered the regulatory overhaul in October.

Among the regulations being jettisoned is one that requires commercial sea bass fishermen to report catch totals at the end of each year. The yearly reporting rule is being discarded as unnecessary, Anderson Lamoureux said.

Department of Public Health rules for food manufacturing are also on the list for a red tape makeover. Currently, the department requires food businesses to follow a unique sanitation regulation for each of 10 types of food. The administration wants to create one regulation that will lay out good manufacturing practices for food production, “in plain English,’’ according to Patrick.

The administration is also looking to:

- Streamline 17 land use permitting rules with an eye toward “eliminating unnecessary inspection and duplicative reporting.’’


- Change hair and nail salon licensing rules to eliminate antiquated sanitary requirements and to allow change of ownership without disrupting business operations, changes that could affect 9,000 businesses statewide.

Forty-one regulations will be taken off the books, and 107 more are targeted for updating.

- Allow funeral home directors to hire part-time apprentices, instead of being limited to full-time apprentices, a change that could benefit 651 small businesses.

Gail Waterhouse can be reached at