Senate passes Sosnowski bill specifying duties of director of regulatory reform to streamline permit process
STATE HOUSE — The Rhode Island Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown) that would specify specific responsibilities of the director of the Office of Regulatory Reform.
The bill (2016-S 2844) would also mandate that every city and town designate, in writing, a regulatory liaison with the office.
“Rhode Island’s economy thrives when promising initiatives can move seamlessly through the approval process at state and municipal levels,” said Senator Sosnowski. “Access to real time information can make a project launch take place on schedule. Absence of that information frustrates businesses and staff responsible for managing the approval process. An online portal accessed through municipal websites will support uniform, statewide electronic plan review, permitting and inspection.”
The legislation would promote expansion of the statewide electronic permitting system, in keeping with the goals of expanding the system to all cities and towns in the state and expanding the types of online permitting, inspections and programs the system can accommodate.
The bill would also require the director to develop and implement a plan to review existing municipal regulations and encourage municipalities to eliminate, consolidate, simplify, expedite, and otherwise improve permits, permitting procedures, and paperwork burdens affecting businesses, industries, and other matters of economic development impact in the state.
Senator Sosnowski, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee, championed legislation establishing the program, which was founded in 2012. Her 2013 legislation created a Municipal Advisory Council to provide input on statewide processing for electronic plan review, permitting and inspection, and to encourage participation of each city and town.
The legislation, which is cosponsored by Senators Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), now heads to the House of Representatives.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903