(A) This article may be cited as the "South Carolina Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act of 2004".

(B) As used in this article "small business" means a commercial retail service, industry entity, or nonprofit corporation, including its affiliates, that:

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 1-23-270

(1) is, if a commercial retail service or industry service, independently owned and operated; and

(2) employs fewer than one hundred full-time employees or has gross annual sales or program service revenues of less than five million dollars.

(C) Before an agency submits to the General Assembly for review a regulation that may have a significant adverse impact on small businesses, the agency, if directed by the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee, shall prepare:

(1) an economic impact statement that includes the following:

(a) an identification and estimate of the number of small businesses subject to the proposed regulation;

(b) the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other administrative costs required for compliance with the proposed regulation, including the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record;

(c) a statement of the economic impact on small businesses; and

(d) a description of less intrusive or less costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the proposed regulation;

(2) a regulatory flexibility analysis in which the agency, where consistent with health, safety, and environmental and economic welfare, shall consider utilizing regulatory methods that accomplish the objectives of applicable statutes while minimizing a significant adverse impact on small businesses.

(D) The agency shall consider, without limitation, each of the following methods of reducing the impact of the proposed regulation on small businesses:

(1) establishment of less stringent compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;

(2) establishment of less stringent schedules or deadlines for compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;

(3) consolidation or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;

(4) establishment of performance standards for small businesses to replace design or operational standards required in the proposed regulation; and

(5) exemption of small businesses from all or a part of the requirements contained in the proposed regulation.

(E) A small business that is adversely impacted or aggrieved in connection with the promulgation of a regulation is entitled to judicial review of agency compliance with the requirements of this article. A small business may seek that review during the period beginning on the date of final agency action.

(F)(1) Each state agency, which promulgates regulations or to which the responsibility for administering regulations has been transferred, shall by July 1, 1997, and every five years thereafter, conduct a formal review of all regulations which it has promulgated or for which it has been transferred the responsibility of administering, except that those regulations described in Section 1-23-120(H) are not subject to this review. Upon completion of the review, the agency shall submit to the Code Commissioner a report which identifies those regulations:

(a) for which the agency intends to begin the process of repeal in accordance with this article;

(b) for which the agency intends to begin the process of amendment in accordance with this article; and

(c) which do not require repeal or amendment.

Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent an agency from repealing or amending a regulation in accordance with Article 1 before or after it is identified in the report to the Code Commissioner.

(2) Regulations that take effect on or after the effective date of this article must be reviewed within five years of the publication of the final regulation in the State Register and every five years after that to ensure that they minimize economic impact on small businesses in a manner consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes.

(3) In reviewing regulations to minimize their economic impact on small businesses, the agency shall consider the:

(a) continued need for the regulation;

(b) nature of complaints or comments received concerning the regulation from the public;

(c) complexity of the regulation;

(d) extent to which the regulation overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other federal, state, and local governmental regulations; and

(e) length of time since the regulation has been evaluated or the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed in the area affected by the regulation.