Small Business; Fines

Prohibits state or county regulatory agencies from imposing civil
fines on any small business without first seeking to resolve the
matter in question with the owner or other representative of the
small business through mediation, arbitration, or other
alternative dispute resolution method.  Provides exceptions.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding
 2 a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as
 3 follows:
 4      "   -     Small businesses; flexibility in imposing fines.
 5 (a)  Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no state or
 6 county regulatory agency shall impose a civil fine, charge, or
 7 fee on any small business without first seeking to resolve the
 8 matter in question with the owner or other representative of the
 9 small business, whether through mediation, arbitration, or other
10 alternative dispute resolution method, except when:
11      (1)  Federal law requires the immediate imposition of
12           citations or fines; or
13      (2)  The agency determines that the small business has acted
14           in bad faith in its dealings with the agency or in
15           failing to comply with applicable laws.
16      (b)  The small business regulatory review board shall review
17 the implementation of this section and report its findings and
18 recommendations regarding progress or impediments and needed
19 improvements in the law, including any proposed implementing

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 1 legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days before
 2 the convening of each regular session.
 3      (c)  As used in this section, the term "small business" has
 4 the same meaning as used in section 103D-901."
 5      SECTION 2.  Section 3 of Act 168, Session Laws of Hawaii
 6 1998, is amended by amending section    -1 to read as follows:
 7      " -1 Small business defender.(a)  There is established
 8 within the legislature a small business defender.  The small
 9 business defender shall be appointed by the senate president and
10 speaker of the house of representatives.  The senate president
11 and speaker of the house of representatives shall determine the
12 salary of the small business defender.  The senate president and
13 speaker of the house of representatives may also appoint
14 administrative support personnel who shall assist and support the
15 small business defender.
16      (b)  Unless otherwise specifically provided by law, and upon
17 written request by a small business, the small business defender
18 may represent, defend, and provide legal representation to any
19 small business, during any adjudicatory or contested proceeding
20 involving any civil citation issued by a state or county agency
21 in which the small business is a party; provided that the small
22 business shall seek its own legal representation whenever the
23 potential remedies against the small business may include fines

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 1 or penalties that exceed $25,000 or may result in the suspension
 2 or revocation of a license.  The small business defender shall
 3 have the discretion to accept or refuse any case for good cause.
 4 The small business defender may also engage in the following
 5 activities:
 6      (1)  Advocate and negotiate, upon consultation with the
 7           small business regulatory review board, with federal,
 8           state, and county agencies and officials on any matter
 9           relating to and promoting the interests of small
10           business;
11      (2)  Work with state and county agencies and small
12           businesses in implementing section    -   ;
13     [(2)] (3)  Conduct investigations to secure information
14           useful in the lawful administration of any provision in
15           this chapter;
16     [(3)] (4)  Refer any appropriate matter to the auditor or
17           ombudsman for examination or investigation; and
18     [(4)] (5)  Do any and all things necessary to effectuate the
19           purposes of this chapter.
20      (c)  Each small business shall waive and release any and all
21 claims, damages, causes of action, and any request for relief
22 made against the small business defender or staff, the State or
23 counties, their officers, employees, or agents, and arising from

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 1 the legal representation of the small business by the small
 2 business defender provided under this section."
 3      SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 4 New statutory material is underscored.
 5      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 7                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________