Proposed Bill Exempts Minor First-Time Regulatory Violations from Civil Fines

Posted 02 August 2012 | By

A new bill proposed in the US House of Representatives would provide relief to small companies and other entities found to be violating paperwork-based regulations for the first time.

The bill, the Providing Assistance with the Paperwork from Excessive Regulations Act of 2012, was introduced 26 July 2012 by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA). Under the act, first-time offenders would not be assessed a civil fine if they commit a "paperwork violation."

Though the legislation does not define the meaning of the term "paperwork violation," the legislation is nearly identical to Chapter 119.14 of Ohio's Revised Code, which defines the term as "any statutory or regulatory requirement … mandating the collection of information by a state agency or regulatory body."

The legislation could be applicable to entities engaged with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires a wide range of information from companies. However, agencies could ignore the law if the violation endangers the public, would "interfere with the detection of criminal activity," is a violation of tax law, the action comes after the agency provided the entity with 6 months of advance warning of the violation or if it would cause "serious harm to the public interest."

The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for review and possible action.


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