Regulations Action Team
- While the state must continue to preserve environmental quality, workplace safety and consumer protection, California’s complex, difficult-to-navigate regulations are imposing unnecessary costs on businesses, taxpayers, and consumers.
- Regulatory processes are excessively prescriptive and process-oriented—and over time many have departed significantly from their original legislative intent.
- While the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has strong benefits to ecosystems, public health, and environmental quality, the CEQA process has been misused, often substantially increasing costs of projects and hampering regional competitiveness.
- Strengthen California’s high environmental, worker-protection and public-standards safety, while turning regulations into a competitive advantage.
- Develop technology-based systems to track applications at every step in the process.
- Modify selected regulatory processes to improve accountability, transparency, consistency of process, and timeliness.
- Create incentives for companies and industries that have voluntarily adopted best practices and higher environmental standards than required by law.
- Measure customer satisfaction using an independently developed online system.
- Maintain a focus on CEQA modernization by focusing on administrative and regulatory over legislative solutions; determine whether pilot tracking system can be implemented.
Action Team Co-Leads
Quay Hays, GROW Holdings, LLC
Goals for the Year
Progress update - September 1, 2015
Priority action identified in Summit Plan to Advance Prosperity in 2014:
• Explore ways to open up government processes and make implementation of state regulations more efficient and economical.
SOAR Teams: Identify funding source and key partnerships for SOAR Teams (Streamline Our Agency Regulations) to identify regulatory processes, including CEQA and water transfers, that can be streamlined, have steps removed, or tracking-technology introduced.
""Customer-Satisfaction"" website: Develop an external, independent website to help agency executives and applicants understand what works and what can be improved in the regulatory process.
Sustainable communities: An opportunity for collaboration among four Action Teams emerged in January to include Summit ideas in a range of state actions on sustainable communities and environmental planning.
1. Identify two to four candidate regulations for streamlining by SOAR (Streamline Our Agency Regulations) Teams.Many regulations are well-intended and deliver good outcomes but the processes are opaque, difficult to navigate and lengthy. Mapping the process with both management and those responsible for implementing the regulation can result in better predictability, faster processes, and better outcomes.
• Work with the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to identify specific regulations for streamlining. Assemble a team that will work, pro-bono, with agency management and rank-and-file employees on the regulation streamlining initiative.
• Assemble a team of experts with appropriate skill sets who will meet with the agency, become familiar with the steps in the process for the specific regulation, and make recommendations for improvements, including expanded use of technology.
• Identify candidates for streamlining: regulations: Commitments were made to help to identify candidate regulations for streamlining, including one commitment to raise this issue in San Gabriel Valley focus groups and another commitment to focus on the aerospace industry.
2. Develop a regulations tracking system to identify where, and with whom, a regulation sits in the process.Applicants are concerned that, once an application is submitted, it falls into a ""black hole"" and it is impossible to determine where it is in the process.
• Work with GO-Biz on their plans for a pilot tracking system to ensure that it meets both agency and applicant needs.
• This effort may be tied to #1 above, where a tracking system can be implemented concurrently with a streamlining project.
• Pilot tracking system: Commitments were made to work on developing a pilot tracking system.
3. Launch a ""customer satisfaction"" website.Today there is no easy way for applicants or even agency management to know what works well or what is problematic in a permitting process. There is no feedback loop to tell management how regulatory processes can be improved.
• Outside of government, but with government assistance in its development, launch a web-based informational and ""customer satisfaction"" survey that will be viewed as fair and objective and provide useful information to both applicants and agency management.
• Identify the expertise and potential in-kind help for the development of the website.
• Raise private or foundation money to fund its development and operation for at least two years.
• ""Customer satisfaction"" website: Several action team members committed to helping develop a customer satisfaction website, which may necessitate raising private or foundation funds.
4. Continue push for CEQA modernization that provides certainty and fairness without reducing protection of the environment.
• Look at non-legislative improvements, such as a single CEQA application to promote consistency.
• Examine other administrative, legislative and regulatory means to improve the CEQA process.
• Determine if some or all portions of CEQA are candidates for SOAR Team work as outlined in #1 above.
• CEQA: Nearly a dozen commitments were made to continue work on CEQA modernization.
5. Open Data: Explore the use of technology to open up government processes.A commitment to transparency as a priority and the availability of technology and its expanded use in government should provide citizens with greater transparency in how government works.
• Create better linkages between state and local government when both are involved in the same regulatory process
• Look at an open-data project in one state agency, such as Fish & Wildlife.
• Review best practices in California and elsewhere with an eye to scaling those that work and greater sharing of proven software programs.
• GO-Biz will add open data to their Streamlining Superstars program.
• Open data: More than a dozen commitments were made to further explore how data can improve government transparency for some of the team's implementation actions.