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Reducing Regulatory Red Tape

Posted on July 24, 2014

Massachusetts employers frequently cite burdensome regulation as a barrier to growth, so it comes as welcome news that the commonwealth has amended or eliminated 255 regulations since 2011.

Patrick.RegulatoryReformGovernor Deval Patrick said this morning that the administration has reviewed all 1,791 executive-branch regulations in existence on January 1, 2012 and weeded out those that were duplicative or out of date.

“Our collective growth and prosperity depends on the growth and prosperity of our small businesses,” the governor said during an event at the Boston Lobster Company.

“These common-sense changes are positive steps forward in improving the business climate by striking a better balance between protecting consumers and communities and enabling innovators to start and grow companies here in the commonwealth.”

The most visible changes for employers have come through the repeal of certain Massachusetts Health Connector regulations, including elimination of the Fair Share Contribution requirement, elimination of the Employer Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure form and elimination of the requirement that employers offer section 125 plans to pay for coverage through their group health plan or through the Health Connector on a pre-tax basis or be subjected to a surcharge.

Other streamlined rules highlighted by the governor include:

  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation standardized permitting and police escort fees for oversized loads on Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection repealed a duplicative approval process for certain Title V septic systems. The amendments streamline state oversight by ending the requirement that local approving authorities consult with DEP before determining whether facilities asserted to be in separate ownership are in fact a single facility.
  • The Division of Professional Licensure Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors adopted model national professional standards of practice. Regulatory changes reflect technological advances in the licensed professions, such as the use of digitized seals and signatures. 
  • The Department of Public Health adopted a model National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) examination and certification; reduced licensure fees; allowed online licensure filing; and made changes to EMT scope of practice and training standards.

AIM member employers provided scores of suggestions for regulations that needed to be reviewed during the three-year process.

Brad MacDougall, Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM, said the Patrick Administration review represents a positive first step in what must be a continual process by government and employers to ensure that regulations remain efficient and effective.

“We commend the administration for injecting common sense into the Massachusetts regulatory structure, especially in the area of health insurance,” MacDougall said.

“We look forward to continuing the review process. The ability of government to ensure the public interest without needlessly burdening employers is decisive factor in the future of the Massachusetts economy.”

The governor said the regulatory review is the first comprehensive effort of its kind in Massachusetts history, and one of the first completed reviews in the nation.

AIM members with suggestions about additional regulations that need to be reformed may contact MacDougall at