House Resolution 5242, theSmall Business Paperwork Amnesty Act, was recently revived in Congress. The bill, which would provide amnesty for businesses making their first reporting mistake, could have far-reaching effects for any number of businesses that face reporting requirements, including worker safety records.
The bill would amend Title 44 of the United States Code â€œto provide for the suspension of fines under certain circumstances for first-time paperwork violations by small-business concerns.â€ The decisions will be made by the head of each agency or administration. Fines will still be imposed on first-time offenders if the agency head determines the violation has the potential to cause serious harm to the public interest, if it interferes in the detection of a criminal act. Offenders would have to correct the violation within six months to avoid a fine.
Robert Shull, deputy director for auto safety and regulatory policy for progressive think-tank Public Citizen, testified Tuesday before a House subcommittee, arguing that the bill â€œwould give amnesty to businesses that neglect to collect and report information that could be vital to public health and safety.â€