Kentucky’s home buyers and small business community are under assault from unelected bureaucrats in Washington who are taking the law into their own hands.
When regulators are allowed to run amok, everyone suffers. Excessive red tape hampers productivity, inhibits job creation and adds costs for consumers. This is particularly true for the home-building industry, where an increasing amount of the cost of a new single-family home is attributable to government regulations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has worked with a coalition of business groups to stand up for American home buyers and small businesses in an effort to reverse a recent power grab by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In the waning days of the Obama administration, OSHA unilaterally changed the statute of limitations on recordkeeping paper violations from six months to five years. The rule became effective on Jan. 18. The rule will subject countless small businesses in Kentucky and across the land to citations for paperwork violations, while doing nothing to improve worker health and safety.
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Imagine being cited for an alleged recordkeeping violation five years after it occurred. Small-business owners who lack the resources or manpower to defend themselves against such citations would be forced to pay huge sums to outside professional consultants to navigate the regulatory and legal maze.
Moreover, previous court rulings have affirmed the applicability of the six-month statute of limitations. Nonetheless, in a clear attempt to circumvent congressional authority and despite the legal decisions, OSHA proceeded with its rulemaking. And hopefully here is where McConnell can move decisively to help his constituents. The Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to review new regulations.
There is still time to utilize this act to roll back this flagrant action. By bringing House-passed legislation to overturn the OSHA rule to the Senate floor, McConnell can demonstrate why he is known as the champion of the small-business community in Kentucky. We would like to thank him for co-sponsoring this act.
OSHA would still be able to issue a citation for recordkeeping paperwork violations up to six months after they occurred and employers would have the exact same obligation to record injuries as they always had. The difference is OSHA could not play “gotcha” by issuing a citation five years after the occurrence.
Until recently, the only time the congressional review was used successfully was on another OSHA overreach, when Congress invoked it to overturn the ergonomics rule that President George W. Bush signed into law on March 20, 2001.
It would only be fitting for the U.S. Senate to celebrate the anniversary of this victory over the bureaucratic state by moving soon to show OSHA who writes the laws in this country.
Robert M. Weiss is executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Kentucky.