Louisiana Legislature Passes Small Business Protection Act
By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate
I am pleased to report that progress is being made in my home state of Louisiana to protect small businesses from burdensome regulations imposed by state government agencies. The Louisiana State Legislature recently adopted the Small Business Protection Act. The law passed by a unanimous vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Act 204 became law on June 11, making it easier for small businesses to identify rules and regulations impacting their industry. The law also aids businesses in keeping track of proposed new regulations. This is an important step in reducing the regulatory burden on Louisiana businesses and growing our economy.
The new law significantly strengthens the Regulatory Flexibility Act passed in Louisiana with assistance from the SBA Office of Advocacy a decade ago. The SBPA of 2019 puts “teeth” into the previous law and moves its implementation responsibilities to Louisiana’s third-highest elected official, the Secretary of State.
The SBPA creates a database of existing and proposed regulations and makes the information available to small businesses through the Secretary of State’s Commercial Division, which already receives business filings in the Bayou State. Proposed rules will be emailed to Louisiana businesses and business associations, alerting them to the possible changes and giving them a voice in the process prior to the rule being finalized.
Business owners and associations have expressed frustration with not being able to find which state regulations govern their businesses. They often become aware of newly implemented rules long after they have been adopted. Sometimes, the agencies, boards, and commissions are unaware of the real-world impact of the regulations they adopt. The SBPA helps to solve all these problems.
According to the latest data from the Office of Advocacy, 99.5 percent of Louisiana’s businesses are small businesses. These 447,440 firms employ 52.8 percent of the state’s employees. However, the latest data also shows small businesses have lost more than 10,000 net jobs. The new law intends to help reverse this trend.
The Office of Advocacy recognizes that state and local governments can be a source of burdensome regulations. Advocacy’s experience at the federal level can help guide policymakers to bring regulatory flexibility to each state. Many states such as Louisiana have enacted legislation or taken other steps to strengthen regulatory flexibility for small businesses.
Giving small employers a voice early in the process is key to reducing the small business impact of state regulations while increasing regulatory compliance and passing on cost savings. This is important since small businesses employ a majority of Louisiana workers. Congratulations to everyone in Louisiana who made the Small Business Protection Act a reality. This is a big step forward.
Rhett Davis serves as the Region 6 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Davis works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 6 to Washington DC. He can be reached at Rhett.Davies@sba.gov.