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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 2306
       By Senator Altman
       24-01543A-10                                          20102306__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to rulemaking; creating s. 120.82,
    3         F.S.; providing rulemaking exceptions and special
    4         requirements for small businesses; defining the term
    5         “small business”; requiring state agencies to provide
    6         notification of any proposed agency action or
    7         implementation of any agency action affecting small
    8         businesses; providing notification requirements;
    9         providing for small-business owners to petition a
   10         state agency for a hearing under certain conditions;
   11         requiring state agencies to expedite such petitions;
   12         providing for the submission of certain evidence by
   13         small-business owners; requiring administrative
   14         hearing officers to consider certain information when
   15         making determinations; providing dispute remedies and
   16         relief; providing an effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. Section 120.82, Florida Statutes, is created to
   21  read:
   22         120.82 Exceptions and special requirements; small
   23  businesses.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law:
   24         (1) As used in this section, the term “small business”
   25  means a company with no more than 100 employees.
   26         (2)(a) Each state agency must publish any proposed agency
   27  action or implementation of any agency action that affects small
   28  businesses in the Florida Administrative Weekly. Such action
   29  must also be prominently posted on the homepage of the agency’s
   30  website and must include information regarding a small-business
   31  owners right to appeal such action without legal representation
   32  and instructions for the fair-hearing process.
   33         (b) A small-business owner may petition the state agency
   34  for a hearing if the proposed agency action or implementation of
   35  the agency action significantly alters, affects, or interferes
   36  with the ability of the small business to compete or continue
   37  operations without a substantial change to employment or
   38  operations.
   39         (c) Any petition filed pursuant to this subsection must be
   40  processed in an expeditious manner.
   41         (3)(a) During hearing proceedings, a small-business owner
   42  may submit sworn testimony from employees, customers,
   43  consultants, business owners, and small-business advocates
   44  documenting the economic impact of a state agency decision,
   45  rule, or policy on the small business. Such testimony must be
   46  accepted as prima facie evidence by an administrative hearing
   47  officer.
   48         (b) A small-business owner may submit evidence after the
   49  hearing if such evidence or testimony supports the basis for an
   50  economic hardship or documents how the small business is
   51  affected by a loss of income, loss of employment, or loss of
   52  market share.
   53         (4)(a) In making a determination, the administrative
   54  hearing officer must consider the impact of the imposition of an
   55  agency action, policy, or rule on the ability of the small
   56  business to continue operations, avoid layoffs, and otherwise
   57  continue operations.
   58         (b) An administrative hearing officer may:
   59         1. Require the parties to enter into a mediated agreement
   60  or agree to certain stipulations as a means to resolving the
   61  dispute.
   62         2. Grant relief that includes, but is not limited to:
   63         a. Waiver of the rule that is cited as a cause of economic
   64  hardship or that creates an undue burden upon the small business
   65  to operate in a competitive manner.
   66         b. Modification of the rule in order to eliminate or reduce
   67  the economic hardship for the small business so long as such
   68  modification does not reduce public safety.
   69         c. Referral of the rule, policy, or decision to the
   70  Administrative Procedures Committee and the Small Business
   71  Regulatory Advisory Council for review and comment.
   72         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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