More than 300 businesses respond to Red Tape Reduction Initiative

More than 300 people, groups and business have asked for a change to state regulations after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced his Red Tape Reduction Initiative last week. They hope to review, revise or eliminate outdated or unnecessary regulations on private businesses.

The governor’s office wouldn’t give specifics on the changes those submissions ask for or who they came from. It did tell me Kentucky has more than 4,500 regulations on the books. Of those, 85 percent have not been reviewed for their effectiveness or ongoing need.

Now a well-known restaurant in Paducah, Italian Grill on Broadway Street was not easy to open for business partners Joan Manganaro and Lauren Deboe.

"It was disappointing and hugely frustrating. Our schedule was pushed back we weren’t able to open when we really wanted to," Manganaro said.

Manganaro says after opening businesses in three different states, dealing with the regulations in Kentucky were a challenge. She spent an additional $30,000 trying to meet building codes. A major challenge was meeting requirements for the stairway and handrails listed in the Kentucky Building Code.

"Instead of cleaning up and re-wrapping the stairs that were here before, which is what we budgeted, we ended up having to rip everything out and start from scratch," Manganaro said.

Under Kentucky law, if you’re renovating a building, you have to follow the same building codes no matter which city you’re in. It’s then up to the city to enforce it and interpret it. 

"There’s a process for development of the codes at a national level, and usually an incident that happen drives a lot of them," Manganaro said.

It’s Paducah Fire Chief Steve Kyle’s job to make sure businesses follow those codes, many of which the Red Tape Reduction Initiative says are outdated.

"Safety is never business friendly," Kyle said.

Kyle says he agrees regulations should constantly be reviewed, but he says some are necessary to keep you and your business safe.

The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet is in charge of regulations. PPC Spokesperson Doug Hogan sent us a statement in response to Bevin’s initiative. 

"Red tape reduction challenges every cabinet and department to look at every impediment to business that regulations raise, and all of Housing, Buildings and Construction, including the State Fire Marshal’s office, is no exception. Everything is on the table to make things easier for Kentuckians to benefit from changes in technology and techniques to advance economic activity while ensuring public protection."

If you want to give your input on regulations, check out the Red Tape Reduction Initiative.

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