The Republicans used their majority leverage in the House to defeat proposed amendments to legislation that requires state agencies to reach out to small businesses before drafting regulations. The House later approved the bill, HB 1349.

House Democrats charged that the bill relaxes regulations for small businesses. But the Republicans, with their 112 to 91 member edge, squashed each of the eight Democratic amendments.

Republicans argued that the bill maintains the present regulatory scheme. It merely requires agencies to assess the cost to small businesses of any new regulations. In some instances, the agency would be required to draft alternative, less costly language.

On the House floor, Allegheny Republican John Maher said the legislation does not exempt anyone.

“What it says is that the voices of small businesses must be heard when crafting state regulations,” Maher said.

President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Kevin Shivers, said that on average it costs small businesses 60 percent more to comply with regulations.

The definition of small business under the legislation generated some criticism from Democratic members both on the floor and on the committee level. The bill uses the U.S. Small Business Administration‟s approach to classifying a business as „small‟, a definition that doesn‟t rely on a specific number of employees. The Administration could consider a 200 employee pharmaceutical company „small‟ when others in the industry employ thousands, according to NFIB‟s Shivers.