Economic Impacts of Legislation AB 3146 (Brewer)
AB 3146 would broaden existing law relating to adoption of regulations that are different from regulations contained in the Code of Federal Regulations by requiring all state agencies to make certain findings.
The Administrative Procedure Act contains provisions relating to the adoption, review, and approval of regulations adopted by state agencies in accordance with statutory mandates. The Act also authorizes departments, boards, and commissions within the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), the Resources Agency, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to adopt regulations that are different from regulations contained in the Code of Federal Regulations addressing the same issues only upon a finding by the public entity adopting the regulations that certain justifications exist.
Prior laws have been enacted to incorporate economic analysis as part of environmental rulemaking, including AB 969 (Jones), AB 1144 (Goldsmith), SB 513 (Morgan), SB 726 (Hill), SB 919 (Dills), and SB 1082 (Calderon). New requirements include: consideration of the competitive impact of proposed regulations on all California businesses; minimization of regulatory duplication; assessment of regulatory impact on job creation or elimination; consideration of the costs of alternatives before adopting major regulations; and preparation of a plain English summary for regulations affecting small businesses.
CalEPA emphasized immediate and full implementation of the new requirements and has developed an internal handbook for reviewing regulatory impact studies. Procedures for conducting these studies are now being developed under contract with the University of California.
Several new laws have been enacted over the past three years that require state agencies to more closely examine the economic consequences of proposed regulations. These laws would also simplify and reduce regulatory overlap and require state agencies to consider alternatives in regulations.
However, only environmental agencies must comply with requirements regarding state regulations that overlap federal regulations. This situation has led to inconsistent administrative procedures.
AB 3146 would:
Expand to all state agencies the requirement to authorize the adoption of regulations that are different from federal regulations only upon a finding that the regulations are justified because they are either authorized by state law or the cost of the differing state regulations are justified by benefitting public health and safety, public welfare, or the environment.
Carolyn M. Badenhausen, Legislative Director, CalEPA (916) 322-7315