119.14 Waiver of penalties for first-time paperwork offenses.

(A) For any small business that engages in a paperwork violation, the state agency or regulatory authority that regulates the field of operation in which the business operates shall waive any and all administrative fines or civil penalties on that small business for the violation, if the paperwork violation is a first-time offense.

(B) When an agency or regulatory authority waives an administrative fine or civil penalty under this section, the state agency or regulatory authority shall require the small business to correct the violation within a reasonable period of time.

(C) Notwithstanding this section, a state agency or regulatory authority may impose administrative fines or civil penalties on a small business for a paperwork violation that is a first-time offense for any of the following reasons:

(1) The violation has the potential to cause serious harm to the public interest as determined by a state agency or regulatory authority director;

(2) The violation involves a small business knowingly or willfully engaging in conduct that may result in a felony conviction;

(3) Failure to impose an administrative fine or civil penalty for the violation would impede or interfere with the detection of criminal activity;

(4) The violation is of a law concerning the assessment or collection of any tax, debt, revenue, or receipt;

(5) The violation presents a direct danger to the public health or safety, results in a financial loss to an employee as defined in section 4111.03 of the Revised Code, or presents the risk of severe environmental harm, as determined by the head of the agency or regulatory authority;

(6) The violation is a failure to comply with a federal requirement for a program that has been delegated from the federal government to a state agency or regulatory authority and where the federal requirement includes a requirement to impose a fine.

(D)

(1) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a state agency or regulatory authority from waiving administrative fines or civil penalties incurred by a small business for a paperwork violation that is not a first-time offense.

(2) Any administrative fine or civil penalty that is waived under this section, may be reinstated and imposed in addition to any additional fines or penalties associated with a subsequent violation for noncompliance with the same paperwork requirement.

(E) This section shall not apply to any violation by a small business of a statutory or regulatory requirement mandating the collection of information by a state agency or regulatory body if that small business previously violated any such requirement mandating the collection of information.

(F) Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish the responsibility for any citizen or business to apply for and obtain a permit, license, or authorizing document that is required to engage in a regulated activity, or otherwise comply with state or federal law.

(G) As used in this section:

(1) "Small business" has the same meaning as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 13, Chapter 1, Part 121.

(2) "Paperwork violation" means the violation of any statutory or regulatory requirement in the Revised Code mandating the collection of information by a state agency or regulatory body.

(3) "First-time offense" means the first instance of a violation of the particular statutory or regulatory requirement mandating the collection of information by a state agency or regulatory body.

Effective Date: 2008 HB285 09-16-2008