New Jersey’s Bi-Partisan Red Tape Review Commission—Putting Permitting Up Front

On September 23, 2010, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno signed Executive Order No. 41, creating a permanent Red Tape Commission. The Commission’s stated mission is to “create a business climate in New Jersey that facilitates job creation” by identifying and removing burdensome regulations so that the interaction between business and government is more productive. At the same time, the commission is charged with giving priority to public health, safety and the environment.

The creation of the Red Tape Review Commission followed other actions by New Jersey’s then Governor Christie. Here’s a brief chronology:

  • On January 20, 2010, Governor Christie froze all proposed regulations and ordered a 90 day moratorium on new proposals. Governor Christie also ordered all state departments to complete a review of their administrative regulations to ensure compliance with “Common Sense Principles” for rule making.
  • On that same day, Governor Christie created the “Red Tape Review Group,” which was tasked to provide a written report within 90 days, addressing all pending and proposed rules and regulations, and their potential effect on businesses and workers in New Jersey. The report was submitted to the Governor on April 19, 2010.
  • Pursuant to the study and report, 16 proposed regulations were withdrawn. After a 6 month study of existing regulations, six chapters of the Administrative Code were abolished, and the repeal or amendment of 130 regulations was proposed.
  • The New Jersey legislature has taken action to implement many of the reforms recommended by the Red Tape Review Group.

As a part of the initiative, Governor Christie issued a series of Common Sense Principles, set forth in Executive Order No. 2. One of the key principles was the adoption of the “time of decision” rule, which states that every permit or approval is governed by the rules in effect at the time of filing. The “time of decision” rule was subsequently enacted into law when Governor Christie signed S82 on May 5, 2010.

Some of the successes that have already come out of the Red Tape Review Commission include:

  • A new general permit from the Department of Environmental Protection that makes it faster and easier for small to moderate-sized manufacturers as well as office complexes, hospitals, schools and apartment complexes to turn energy used for heating into electricity.
  • The abandonment of a proposed regulation by the Division of Consumer Affairs, based on a recommendation by the Red Tape Review Commission.
  • The creation of uniform contracting requirements for social service organizations regulated by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Families.

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