Calif. lawmakers want to hear from businesses hurt by over-regulation

Chris Rizo Dec. 10, 2009, 3:28pm

Dave Cox (R)

Roger Niello (R)

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Two California state lawmakers say they want to hear from businesspeople who believe they are being strangled by state regulations.

State Sen. Dave Cox and Assemblyman Roger Niello, both Sacramento-area Republicans, are holding a series of legislative hearings to discuss the affects of state regulations on businesses.

"Hearing from those who are impacted directly by the burdensome load of state and local regulation is necessary in finding out how policymakers can provide a better climate for these businesses to operate and put people back to work," Niello said.

Cox is president of Integrated Benefits and Insurance Services, while Niello owns retail automobile dealerships with his family partners.

The lawmakers' hearings follow comments by state Attorney General Jerry Brown that California has become over-regulated.

"The whole framework of law is crucial for the operations of business enterprises," Brown told Legal Newsline last month. "But when over prescriptive, it creates a huge and growing amount of overhead and it does seem that we're reaching the point of counter-productivity."

Earlier this year, a report by two California State University Sacramento professors -- Sanjay Varshney and Dennis Tootelian -- found that small businesses are fettered by far-reaching state regulations.

The study, which has been disputed by some experts, pegged the cost of state regulation on small businesses in California at nearly a half trillion dollars and 3.8 million jobs annually.

"Our economy will not recover and our current state budget deficit will not be resolved until businesses are once again prosperous and hiring new employees," Cox said.

In a speech last month to corporate lawyers, Brown lamented that California's vast amount of environmental and workplace laws and regulations create unnecessary litigation.

"We are moving every year to add more and more legal prescription to our lives, to our organizations, to our businesses and how we all function," Brown said, estimating that the state has about 30,000 more laws today than when he was a two-term governor from 1975 to 1983.

Brown, a Democrat, is widely believed to make a run for governor in 2010.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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