Whether you are just starting a small business or have been successfully running one for a decade or more, you MUST be familiar with the rules and regulations that govern it. Many small businesses require licenses, and still more have conduct which are governed by sets of rules and regulations found in obscure locations and dusty law books that seldom see the light of day. However if you are running any type of business from a nightclub to a beauty salon, a towing company to a daycare, you must at least know where your applicable code sections are and what the process is when something goes wrong.
COMAR: What is it?
COMAR is an acronym for the “Code of Maryland Regulations” and is available for review free here. COMAR is the uniform location for all regulation governing every state agency, from DNR to MVA to OAH. The code is set up in a nifty numerical format to make the code easier to search:
Federal Register: What is it?
To make things more confusing, some types of small businesses (meatpacking, cosmetics, drugs, interstate trucking for example) fall within the purview of the federal government, which puts you in the scope of a federal agency and the Federal Register. It may be browsed here. Because the types of businesses that need to worry about these types of regulations, it is beyond the scope of this article, but if you need help navigating the Fed. Regs, just give us a call!
COMAR: practically applied
Ok, so now you’re asking yourself, what does it all mean? I’m going to walk through a couple of concrete examples of where COMAR could impact your small business’ success or failure in a few easy steps.
COMAR: License application
If you want to be licensed for any one of a thousand professions, you will fill out the application with the agency in charge of licensing. That agency will review the application and ensure its completeness and accuracy. Then the agency will either grant or deny the license. If your application is denied, you may be upset with the clerk at the agency, but actually COMAR governs these decisions and if the clerk is not following the regulations, an appeal of the licensure denial is in order. For example: if you would like to become a licensed daycare provider, your application would be made through the Office of Child Care and the requirements can be found at COMAR 13a.16.02.00, et al.
COMAR: day to day business
COMAR also contains many rules and regulations that govern how you MUST run your day to day operations of your business. For example, in health care settings you must maintain certain records daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly (depending on what it is that you are doing). COMAR would contain all these requirements.
COMAR: WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG
And now when COMAR is really important…when an inspector shows up at your business and issues you a citation or letter for not following COMAR (whatever rule applies to your business). Generally speaking, you will have a certain number of days to comply with the inspector’s request or be shut down and be referred for license revocation or suspension proceedings. If you are in the administrative process for licensing, it is vitally important to read the applicable COMAR provisions. While all State and Federal agencies follow the same general process, each one has slightly different timelines for appealing decisions. Administratively, failure to timely file an appeal means that your appeal WILL be denied, without exception. So time is of the essence with all license proceedings. While your ENlawyers are intimately familiar with how administrative processes and COMAR works, generally, even we still review COMAR for each business client, because the regs are slightly different for each agency.
Administrative procedures: the bottom line
When you are running a small business, you often don’t have time to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. You need a law firm who can help you navigate the process and cover all your assets! Contact ENlawyers if you are having difficulty steering the muddy waters of COMAR, the administrative license process, and license revocation proceedings.