SECTION 1. Be it ordered by the Governor of Maryland, pursuant to Article II, Section 24, of the Constitution of Maryland, that Sections 14-201 through 14-205 of the Economic Development Article and the Subtitle “Office of the Business Ombudsman” be repealed.
SECTION 2. And be it further ordered, that:
(A)(1) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Office” means the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance.
(3) “Executive Director” means an individual appointed by the Governor who directs the activities of the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance and serves as a liaison between businesses, economic development organizations, communities, and federal, State, and local units and agencies.
(B)(1) There is an Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance in the Department.
(2) The purpose of the Office is to:
(I) Assist businesses with the implementation of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act and other labor and licensing laws and regulations;
(II) Resolve problems encountered by businesses interacting with State agencies;
(III) Facilitate responsiveness of State government to business needs;
(IV) Serve as a central clearinghouse of information for business assistance programs and services available in the State;
(V) Assist businesses by referring businesses and individuals to resources that provide the business services or assistance requested;
(VI) Provide comprehensive permit information and assistance;
(VII) Establish and maintain metrics in order to monitor the progress of the Office and report the data to the Governor and the General Assembly; and
(VIII) Report and make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding breakdowns in the delivery of economic development resources and programs, including problems encountered by businesses interacting with State agencies.
(C) The Office shall:
(1) Assist in the adoption of regulations necessary for the implementation of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act;
(2) Establish, maintain, and update each year a list of the business assistance programs and services in the State, including the names, locations, web site addresses, and telephone numbers of the entities providing the programs and services;
(3) Implement a business fairness and responsiveness service that:
(I) Resolves problems encountered by businesses with other State agencies and regional and local economic development organizations;
(II) Coordinates programs and services implemented by federal, State, and local agencies;
(III) Facilitates responsiveness of State government to business needs; and
(IV) Reports to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding any breakdowns in the delivery of economic development resources and programs;
(4) Develop and maintain a program to provide comprehensive information to the public regarding permits required for business initiatives, projects, and activities;
(5) Establish and implement procedures to assist permit applicants who have encountered difficulties in obtaining timely and efficient permit review; and
(6) Administer and oversee the State customer service and business development efforts training program under subsection (D) of this section.
(D)(1) There is a State Customer Service and Business Development Efforts Training Program.
(2) The purpose of the Program is to increase the responsiveness of and improve customer service provided by State agencies to businesses and customers in the State.
(3) The Office shall develop State customer service standards that incorporate best practices for providing excellent customer service.
(4) Each agency shall:
(I) Create a customer service improvement plan;
(II) Review and incorporate the Office’s State customer service standards in the agency’s customer service improvement plan;
(III) Develop and conduct customer service training for each employee who interacts with businesses and members of the public on a regular basis;
(IV) Adopt and distribute a standard customer service satisfaction survey for each person the agency serves;
(V) Establish an incentive or recognition program for employees who provide excellent customer service; and
(VI) Report each year on:
1. The training provided to employees, including:
A. The number of trainings;
B. The frequency of trainings; and
C. The specific subject of each training;
2. The responses received from customer service satisfaction surveys distributed under Paragraph (IV) of this subsection;
3. The progress of the agency’s customer service, including the metrics the agency uses to assess the customer service of the agency; and
4. The agency’s measurable goals for continuing to improve customer service for the upcoming year.
(5) Each year the Office shall evaluate the State Customer Service and Business Development Efforts Training Program and make recommendations regarding the Program.
(E)(1) Each year, the Office shall submit a report to the Governor and, in accordance with §2–1246 of the State Government Article, the standing committees of the General Assembly having jurisdiction over economic development matters.
(2) The report shall contain:
(I) Information regarding the performance of the Office, including data indicating the effectiveness of programs and procedures regarding permitting;
(II) Data specifying the number of businesses and individuals that have contacted the Office or used the services of the Office; and
(III) Recommendations regarding improvements to existing laws relating to economic development.
(3) The report shall include information and recommendations developed for the State Customer Service and Business Development Efforts Training Program under Subsection (D) of this section.
(F) The Governor shall include funds in the State budget to implement this subtitle, including funds to:
(1) Employ a full–time Executive Director; and
(2) Operate and maintain an office.
SECTION 3. And be it further ordered, that all persons who, as of the effective date of this Order, are employed in the Office of Business Ombudsman in the Office of the Governor are hereby transferred to the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance in the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation without any change or loss of rights or status, and shall retain their merit system and retirement system status.
SECTION 4. And be it further ordered, that any transaction affected by or arising from any statute here amended, repealed, or transferred, and validly entered into before the effective date of this Order and every right, duty, or interest flowing from it remains valid after the effective date and may be terminated, completed, consummated, or enforced pursuant to law.
SECTION 5. And be it further ordered, that all rules and regulations, proposed rules and regulations, standards and guidelines, proposed standards and guidelines, orders and other directives, forms, plans, memberships, special funds, appropriations, grants, applications for grants, contracts, property, investigations, administrative and judicial proceedings, rights to sue and be sued, and all other duties and responsibilities associated with those functions transferred by this Order shall continue in effect under the Office of Small Business Regulatory Assistance upon transfer to the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
SECTION 6. And be it further ordered, that any unexpended appropriation for the purpose of financing the Office of the Business Ombudsman shall be transferred by approved budget amendment to the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
SECTION 7. And be it further ordered, that this Executive Order shall become effective and have the force of law on this 15th day of January, 2018, unless specifically disapproved within 50 days after submission, by a Resolution of Disapproval concurred in by a majority vote of all members of either House of the General Assembly.