Streamlining Departments in Lansing May Help Michigan Businesses

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Formed
The formation of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is the latest effort of Governor Snyder to create a smaller, yet more centralized Michigan state government. It is not simply a name change, but a reorganization of the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, and other state departments, which has the potential to make it a little easier for businesses to function and stay in compliance with state laws and regulations.

Improving focus
At a Lansing press conference earlier this year, the governor said that the Department Energy, Labor and Economic Growth has "been kind of a collection basket for a lot of things" and that the reorganization he has ordered will improve its focus, presumably to help Michigan businesses.

Reducing red tape and simplifying processes
Also under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is the newly created Michigan Administrative Hearing System, designed to replace the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and make the state's hearings system more streamlined. These offices falling under the same department are intended to reduce the amount of red tape and simplify the evaluation process. The reorganization is intended to assist state departments and agencies in reducing the number of forms and applications.

Providing a conducive climate for business growth
While these changes do not directly create jobs, they provide the prospect of a more conducive climate for Michigan businesses to grow. One of the major drawbacks to doing business in Michigan has been the cumbersome regulatory environment that tends to snuff out potential for small businesses and stifle growth of mid-size companies. The renovation at the administration level taking place in Lansing is a step in the right direction for Michigan, provided the intended results are felt by Michigan businesses.

Dan A. Penning