Government Administration and Elections Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6362

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE TRANSPARENCY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF THE REGULATIONS OF CONNECTICUT STATE AGENCIES.

Vote Date:

3/15/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/25/2013

File No.:

362

SPONSORS OF BILL:

This bill was introduced by the following Senators and Representatives, on behalf of the Governor:

Rep. J. Brendan Sharkey, 88th Dist.
Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, 30th Dist.
Sen. Donald E. Williams, 29th Dist.
Sen. Martin M. Looney, 11th Dist.

Co-Sponsors:

Rep. Selim G. Noujaim, 74th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill implements the recommendations of the Regulations Modernization Taskforce under Public Act 12-92. The bill requires that all state regulations be online by July 1st of this year, under the mandate of PA 12-92. Secondly, this bill requires that the entire regulation-making process be made electronic, using one system for all agencies by October 1, 2014. Lastly, the bill removes requirement for redundant online postings and hard-copy filings for agencies posting to the online repository, known as the “eRegulations System”.

This eRegulations System will centralize and streamline online regulation posting, making government regulations clearer and easier to access for interested parties. The system improves upon the current paper based system, with cost savings associated with elimination of printing and distribution costs. Furthermore, eRegulations shall henceforth be considered the official copy, saving state publication costs. The regulation-making system shall be online, insuring that the regulations online are kept current. The delay for online regulation-implementation until October 1st, 2014 is to better allow SOTS and partner organizations to develop and implement eRegulations System.

Substitute Language:

Line No. in Substitute

Language Change

4

Inserted: “The Commission on Official Legal Publications shall, within available appropriations, provide any assistance requested by the Secretary of the State in the creation of the eRegulations System.

8

“regulation adoption activities undertaken by agencies pursuant to chapter 54 of the general statutes.” is replaced by “the official regulation-making record described in section 4-168b of the general statutes, as amended by this act.”

32

Internet” inserted between “Secretary's” and “web site

33

Within available appropriations, the Commission on Official Legal Publications shall provide assistance as requested by the Secretary of the State in the creation of the eRegulations System and shall continue to publish the official version of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies until the Secretary makes such certification.” is replaced by ”Until such time as the Secretary makes such certification: (1) the Secretary, upon receipt of the certified electronic copy of an approved regulation in accordance with section 4-172 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall forward an electronic copy of such regulation to the Commission on Official Legal Publications for publication in accordance with this section, (2) the Commission on Official Legal Publications shall continue to publish the regulations of Connecticut state agencies, and (3) such published version shall be the official version of said regulations.”

65

Inserted: “and section 1 of this act,”

182

Inserted: “and section 1 of this act.”

277

Inserted: “notice of

312

Inserted: “and any revision of a regulation to be resubmitted to the standing legislative regulation review committee,”

346

Deleted: “[The members of the committee shall elect from among their members two cochairpersons, one of whom shall be a member of the Senate and one of whom shall be a member of the House of Representatives and either of whom]” Added: There shall be two cochairpersons shall not be members of the same political party and shall be from alternate parties in the respective houses in each successive term. For purposes of this section “appointing authority” means the speaker or minority leader of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore or minority leader of the Senate, as appropriate according to the respective house and party of the member appointed. Each chairperson…”

363

“ (A) [the original] an electronic copy” is replaced by “(A) the original and an electronic copy

406

to [each] the electronic copy” is replaced by “to each copy

485

with such electronic copy” is replaced by “with [such] the electronic copy]

487

that such electronic copy” is replaced by “that [such] the electronic copy]

529

“the compilation” is replaced by “the [compilation] eRegulations System,”

530

“the compilation” is replaced by “the [compilation] system

562

Inserted: “Any updates of said manuals subsequent to October 1, 2014, shall be posted on the eRegulations System.

677

the regulation-making proceedings and requirements” is replaced by “the provisions

678

shall submit such changes to the standing legislative regulations review committee for review.” is replaced by “make such changes without complying with the provisions of said chapter concerning regulation-making proceedings. The department shall submit such changes to the standing legislative regulations review committee for review in accordance with this section.”

685

“thirty days after such submission” replaced by “sixty days after such submission”

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Christopher Drake, Deputy Legal Counsel, Office of the Governor

Christopher Drake, Deputy Legal Counsel to Governor Malloy, testified on behalf of the Office of the Governor in support of this bill because Connecticut needs a central online repository for state regulations. This bill builds on the work of the Regulations Modernization Task Force, established under Public Act 12-92. This bill implements those recommendations under the timetable set forth under the act, and requires that the future regulation-making process be online, through a centralized format. This bill does not greatly change the regulation-making process established by the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act; the changes are only to ensure that all regulations are available to the public online and in real time, and furthermore that the online regulations are the official version. Finally, funding for this project has already been approved through the Technology Capital Investment Program. The regulations are published through the SOTS office but designed jointly by the Governor's Office, SOTS, and the Bureau of Enterprise Services and Technology.

(Office of the Governor, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State of Connecticut

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill testified in support of this bill, applauding the collaborate process of drafting this bill through the Regulations Modernization Task Force. This bill is important because it makes “government more 'user friendly' to businesses trying to navigate bureaucracy and promotes transparency for the general public.” As part of the process, SOTS has asked for more resources to help her manage the new responsibilities granted to her office, and she repeated her concern that this program be adequately funded.

(Denise Merrill, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

Stephen Ment, Deputy Director Legislative Affairs, Office of External Affairs, Connecticut Judicial Branch

Stephen Ment submitted testimony on behalf of the Judicial Branch in support of this bill, pointing out its genesis in the Regulations Modernization Task Force, on which the Judicial Branch was represented. The Judicial Branch is particularly in support of section 1, which addresses the period of transition from July 1st, 2013, to October 1st, 2014. The Judicial Branch will be pleased to support SOTS to ensure an orderly and smooth transition.

(Judicial Branch, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Pamela Booth, Committee Administrator, Legislative Regulation Review Committee

Pamela Booth, Committee Administrator for the Legislative Regulation Review Committee testified in support of this bill because it will implement the final goals of a program she has worked for nearly a decade and a half before she retires in June. The placing of regulations online will streamline the process of regulation publication and greatly increase citizens' access to the regulations. However, this bill should be changed to require agencies to submit a single hardcopy with each e-filing, in order to ensure that all online copies are correct. The LRRC has had issues over the past years with agencies submitting hard copies that differ from e-copy submissions. The hardcopy allowed the committee to catch both human and system errors and allowed greater control over the correctness of the records. Furthermore, keeping one hard copy is a good idea because it serves as a backup in case of disaster.

(Pamela Booth, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

Raphael Podolsky, Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut, Inc.

Raphael Podolsky of the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut, Inc. testified on this bill requesting an amendment to the bill to require each agency to continue to post regulations relevant to their agency on their own website in addition to posting at SOTS, as it is easier and more convenient for users to find regulations from each agency through that agency's web page. It is also useful to have a list of each program administered by the agency. At the very least, the agency should be required to link to the appropriate section of the regulations on the SOTS website. Furthermore, Mr. Podolsky and his organization requested clarification of the changes that the bill makes to requirements for preservation of audio tapes. Current law requires that, in the absence of a transcript, the audio tape (if available) be part of the regulation-making record. This bill would delete that requirement and substitute language requiring the agency to make the tape available on request. Why audio recordings should not be part of the regulating-record record is a source of confusion to Mr. Podolsky.

(Raphael Podolsky, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

Peter Gioia, Vice President and Economist, Connecticut Business and Industry Association

Peter Gioia, Vice President and Economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) submitted testimony in support of this bill because it helps “create a smaller, more effective and efficient state system.” This bill creates a “coordinated and transparent electronic system of state regulations”, accessible to all. This will create a more user-friendly government and should increase understanding and compliance. This bill helps the state control its budget and streamline its spending, two things that CBIA supports.

(Peter Gioia, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

Jonathan Stock, of the Southern New England Law Librarians Association

Jonathan Stock, of the Southern New England Law Librarians Association (SNELLA), submitted testimony commenting that this bill is “inextricably linked to a related bill we support, S.B. 235” which concerns the authenticity of electronic records, the preservation of previous versions, and open public access at minimal cost. SNELLA affirms the testimony of Pamela Booth on the need for agencies to submit hard copy and the usefulness of such copies in catching errors. Furthermore, preservation of electronic records is difficult, as the process is very new, the formats for electronic records often change making previous versions incompatible with new systems, and no one has any idea how current digital storage technologies will last. SNELLA is interested in seeing the state continue to maintain and add to the remaining hard copy depositories in the state.

(Jonathan Stock, GAE Public Hearing, Feb 25th, 2013)

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

[Click here and Enter Nature and Sources of Opposition]

Reported by: Ted Fisher

Date: 04/12/2013