Senate Bill No. 348

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act Requiring One-Stop Licensing for Business and Professional Licenses; expanding the purpose and duties of the Small Business Licensing Coordination Center; providing a state special revenue account; amending sections 30-16-101, 30-16-102, 30-16-103, 30-16-201, and 30-16-301, MCA; and providing an applicability date."

WHEREAS, the number of state licenses, applications, and information required for new businesses and professional occupations and the renewal of existing business and professional licenses result in duplication and place an undue burden on businesses and individuals; and

WHEREAS, providing a convenient, accessible, and timely one-stop system for all business and professional licensees would reduce the frustration now experienced by the public in dealing with the current licensing procedures; and

WHEREAS, providing a one-stop system for the business and professional community in which information is available to the community concerning all state licensing and regulatory requirements would reduce costs and public frustration.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Issuance of licenses -- master application and fees -- action by regulatory agency. (1) A person required to obtain one or more business or professional licenses shall contact the small business and professional licensing coordination center provided for in 30-16-201 for a copy of the application for the individual license or, if appropriate, a copy of the master application requesting the issuance of the licenses.

(2) The master application must contain in consolidated form the information necessary for the applicant to be issued the license, including any required fees or forms necessary for licensing.

(3) The applicant shall include with the application form all fees required for the requested individual license.

(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), the department is authorized to issue those licenses for which the proper fee payment and a completed application form have been received and for which no prelicensing or renewal approval action is required by a regulatory agency.

(5) The authority of the department to issue a license does not apply to the issuance or renewal of a license that requires a prelicensing or renewal investigation, inspection, testing, or other judgmental review by the regulatory agency legally authorized to issue the license.

(6) Upon receipt of the application and proper fee payment for any license for which issuance is subject to regulatory agency action under subsection (5), the department shall immediately notify the regulatory agency with authority to approve issuance or renewal of the license requested by the applicant.

(7) Each regulatory agency shall, within a reasonable time after receiving the notice, advise the department that:

(a) the agency approves the issuance of the requested license and will advise the applicant of any specific conditions required for issuing the license;

(b) the agency denies the issuance of the license and will give the applicant reasons for the denial; or

(c) the application is pending.

(8) The department shall issue a master license endorsed for all the approved licenses to the applicant and advise the applicant of the status of other requested licenses. The applicant is responsible to contest the decision regarding conditions imposed or licenses denied pursuant to the procedures established by statute or by the agency with the authority for approving issuance of the license.

(9) The department shall provide each regulatory agency with information from the master application for its licensing and regulatory functions.

(10) All fees collected by the department must be deposited in the license fund established by [section 2].

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Master license fund. There is created an account in the state special revenue fund. Money in the account must be allocated to the department to pay the costs associated with this chapter.

Section 3.  Section 30-16-101, MCA, is amended to read:

"30-16-101.   Short title. This chapter may be cited as the "Montana Small Business and Professional Licensing Coordination Act"."

Section 4.  Section 30-16-102, MCA, is amended to read:

"30-16-102.   Purpose. The purposes of this chapter are to:

(1)  eliminate licensing requirements, administrative procedures, and forms that are unnecessary for the protection of the public interest;

(2)  streamline and minimize the total government and business costs of necessary licensing and inspection procedures;

(3)  distribute equitably the costs of licensing; and

(4)  provide a convenient, accessible, and timely system for the business and professional community to acquire and maintain the necessary state registrations and licenses to conduct business.;

(5) provide a system that will enable state agencies to efficiently store, retrieve, and exchange license information as authorized under state and federal law;

(6) provide, at a designated location, the application form or forms to be completed by an applicant who is required to obtain a business or professional license;

(7) provide a statewide system of common business and professional identification; and

(8) institute for appropriate businesses or professions a master licensing system that will reduce the paperwork burden on businesses and promote the elimination of obsolete and duplicative licensing requirements by consolidating existing licenses and applications."

Section 5.  Section 30-16-103, MCA, is amended to read:

"30-16-103.   Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1)  "Board of review" means the body established to provide policy direction to the department in designing and recommending to the legislature the implementation of a plan for a business registration and licensing system.

(2)  "Department" means the department of commerce established in 2-15-1801.

(3)  (a) "License" means the whole or part of any agency permit, license, certificate, approval, registration, or charter or any form or permission required by law or administrative rule to engage in any profession, occupation, or any retail, wholesale, consumer service, manufacturing, or distributing activity.

(b)  License does not include licenses, permits, or registrations issued under Title 30, chapter 10, parts 1 through 3, Title 33, Title 37, chapter 61, and Title 75, which are excluded from the coverage of this chapter.

(4) "Master application" means a document incorporating pertinent data from existing applications for licenses covered under this chapter.

(5) "Master license" means the single document designed for public display issued by the small business and professional licensing coordination center that certifies state agency license approval and that incorporates the endorsements for individual licenses included in the master license system that the state requires for any person subject to this chapter.

(4)(6)  "Person" means an individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, association, cooperative, limited liability company, corporation, nonprofit organization, state or local government agency, or any other organization required to register with the state to do business in Montana and to obtain one or more licenses from the state or any of its agencies.

(5)(7)  "Plan" means the business registration and licensing system document, which is under the administrative control of the department.

(8) "Regulatory agency" means any state agency, board, commission, or division that regulates one or more professions, occupations, industries, businesses, or activities."

Section 6.  Section 30-16-201, MCA, is amended to read:

"30-16-201.   Designation of small business and professional licensing coordination center -- duties of center. The department shall administer a small business and professional licensing coordination center. The small business and professional licensing coordination center shall:

(1)  document and analyze current licensing requirements, fees, and procedures;

(2)  recommend elimination of unnecessary licensing requirements, administrative procedures, or forms or parts of forms that can be eliminated in the public interest;

(3)  recommend efficient and effective improvements in the administration and enforcement of licensing laws, including gathering of information that facilitates the development of a permanent master license certificate;

(4)  recommend revisions in the license fee structure to distribute the cost of licenses equitably and to provide financing for continuing improvements in licensing administration and enforcement;

(5)  develop and, upon request, distribute information concerning state requirements for starting and operating a business in Montana;

(6)  provide assistance to business enterprises to facilitate their compliance with state licensing requirements;

(7)  maintain a supply of license and permit forms or applications for all licenses and actively assist the business and professional community in answering application questions;

(8)  maintain a master list of the business types and professions existing in the state and a corresponding list of the licenses or permits needed to operate in or start that type of business;

(9) develop a computerized system before January 1, 1999, capable of storing, retrieving, and exchanging license information;

(9)(10) maintain a copy of the Administrative Rules of Montana in order to provide an applicant with the basic rules of any agency with regard to licensing;

(10)(11) encourage agencies to provide informational brochures through the center, especially in the case of complex licensing procedures;

(11)(12) maintain contact with licensing agencies in order to enable the center to assist an applicant with setting up appointments or otherwise facilitate the application process; and

(12)(13) perform other administrative tasks delegated to the center to improve state business and professional license administration; and

(13) on January 4, 1993, present a report to the legislature containing its analysis and recommendations as required in subsections (1) through (4)."

Section 7.  Section 30-16-301, MCA, is amended to read:

"30-16-301.   Business registration and licensing plan -- duties. (1) Before January 1, 1997, The the department shall develop a plan:

(a)  to establish an information service detailing all state licenses that are required in order to engage in a business or profession in Montana and the locations for applying for those licenses; and

(b)  for a uniform method by which all state agencies may identify businesses and professions.

(2)  The method developed under subsection (1)(b) must include a phased approach to:

(a)  complete a requirements analysis and specification document, including an overview systems design;

(b)  complete a detailed requirements analysis, including a general systems design;

(c)  establish interagency procedures for effectuating the plan;

(d)  select those licenses that will be included in the initial implementation of the plan and the date and manner in which the licenses will be integrated into the plan; and

(e)  complete a cost-benefit analysis of the final implementation of the plan.

(3)  The department shall on January 2, 1997, recommend to the legislature any statutory or budgetary changes for implementing the plan.

(4)  Each state agency shall review its licenses and recommend to the legislature on January 2, 1997 1999, those licenses that should be eliminated or consolidated and justify those that should be retained.

(5)  The department shall designate a deputy director in charge of the plan whose duties include those of executive secretary of the board of review."

NEW SECTION. Section 8.  Codification instruction. [Sections 1 and 2] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 30, chapter 16, part 3, and the provisions of Title 30, chapter 16, part 3, apply to [sections 1 and 2].

NEW SECTION. Section 9.  Applicability. [This act] applies to business and professional licenses issued, renewed, or reinstated on or after [the effective date of this act].