Government regulations and red tape can be a tremendous barrier to small business growth. Small businesses' regulatory compliance costs are 36 percent higher than large businesses so it is no surprise that regulations consistently rank as a top concern for small business owners. Roughly 3,300 regulations are in the pipeline this year and many of them will affect small businesses. 

Below are regulatory proposals that have been published in the Federal Register and are open for public comment. An agency publishes an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) with a proposed rule if it expects that the rule will have a significant economic impact on substantial number of small businesses. The IRFA provides information about the potential effects of the proposed rule on small businesses.  

Agencies' initial analyses of small business impacts are not always correct or complete, so the Committee on Small Business encourages small businesses to file comments through the government's online portal,, and tell federal agencies how the regulatory proposal will affect them. If you provide input to an agency, please feel free to share your concerns with the Committee through our Open Mic page.


Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC has issued a proposed rule that would require auto dealers to indicate on the Buyers Guide whether they obtained a vehicle history report, and if so, to provide a copy of the report to consumers who request it, among other items.  The agency expects over 50,000 independent and franchise auto dealers to be subject to the proposal.  (Published 11-28-2014)


Requirements for Dental Practices to Control Discharges of Mercury

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule that would require dental practices to comply with requirements for controlling the discharge of mercury and other metals in dental filling material into publicly owned treatment works.  The EPA estimates that over 109,000 small dental offices are potentially subject to this proposal.  (Published 10-22-2014; 12-19-2014)


Revisions to Small Business Government Contracting Regulations

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to implement provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 addressing small business participation in government contracting.  The proposed rule would make a number changes including: changing the way limitations on the subcontracting are calculated; changing the rules on affiliation for joint ventures and teams; clarifying the responsibilities of procurement center representatives; and providing additional guidance when the size standard applied to a procurement may be appealed.  (Published 12-29-2014)


Safety Standard for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROVs)

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The CPSC has issued a proposed rule that would create lateral stability and vehicle handling requirements for ROVs and require that ROVs exhibit certain steering characteristics.  The agency is aware of 20 small importers of ROVs that could be subject to the proposal and seeks comments on how they will be affected. (Published 11-19-2014)


Teacher Preparation

Department of Education

The Department of Education has issued a proposed rule that would establish specific indicators that states would use to assess and report on the quality of teacher preparation programs.  Small institutions of higher education (IHEs) that participate in the title IV, Higher Education Act of 1965 programs, including Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, alternative certification programs not housed at IHEs, states, and individual borrowers, would be affected. (Published 12-3-2014)


Corporate Contractor Performance and Integrity

Department of Defense (DOD);
General Services Administration (GSA);
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The DOD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule that would modify the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System to require the identification of any immediate owner or subsidiary and all predecessors of an offeror that held a federal contract or grant within the last three years.  The agency seeks comments from small businesses on the expected impact of this rule on small firms. (Published 12-4-2014)


Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplements: Appendix F-Energy Receiving Reports

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has issued a proposed rule that would amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to identify the electronic Wide Area Work Flow Energy Receiving Report as the equivalent of certain paper forms for overland shipments and waterborne shipments.  The agency seeks comment from small defense contractors that could be affected by the changes. (Published 12-11-2014)


Requirements for Vessels Conducting Outer Continental Shelf Activities

United States Coast Guard (Coast Guard)

The Coast Guard has issued a proposed rule that would establish minimum design, operation, training, and manning standards for mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) and other vessels engaging in Outer Continental Shelf activities.  The agency seeks comment on how small MODUs and offshore supply vessels will be affected by the proposal (Published 11-28-2014)


Energy Conservation Program for Certain Industrial Equipment
Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE has issued a proposed rule to amend the energy conservation standards for all classes of single package vertical air conditioners and single package vertical heat pumps.  Manufacturers may need to redesign their products to meet the new standards and DOE estimates that the average total conversion cost would be $1.49 million per manufacturer.  The agency has identified two small manufacturers which could face significant economic impacts. (Published 12-30-2014)


Amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation

Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The DOD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule that amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation to clarify that a determination of exceptional circumstances is needed when a noncompetitive contract awarded on the basis of unusual and compelling urgency exceeds one year, either at time of award or due to post-award modifications.  The agencies seek comment from small businesses on the proposed rule and on the existing regulations that the proposed rule will amend. (Published 12-30-2014)


Changes to Exchange Act Registration Requirements

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC has issued a proposed rule to implement Title V and Title VI of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”).  The proposal would amend existing rules to reflect the new, higher thresholds registration, termination of registration and suspension of reporting thresholds that were set forth in the JOBS Act.  The SEC seeks comments from small businesses that may be affected by the proposed rule. (Published 12-30-2014)    


Designation of Critical Habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal

Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would designate as critical habitat one specific area of marine habitat in the northern Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas for the Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal.  Small businesses, in particular oil and gas operations, that conduct activities in the proposed critical habitat area could be affected by costs associated with Endangered Species Act section 7 consultations including potential project modifications. (Published 12-9-2014)


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule to revise the national ambient air quality standards for ozone.  States must comply with the new standards and may impose new requirements on businesses such as small manufacturers to meet the new ozone standards.  (Published 12-17-2014)

IRFA -NO | COMMENTS DUE 03-17-2015

Electronic Distribution of Prescribing Information for Human Prescription Drugs

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has issued a proposed rule to amend its prescription drug and biological product labeling regulations to require electronic distribution of the prescribing information intended for health care professionals.  Drug manufacturers, repackers, relabelers, and manufacturers or repackers of private label drugs would incur short-term costs associated with the new labeling requirements.  Physicians and pharmacists could incur both short-run and long-run costs, including acquiring new computer and printing equipment and printing costs. (Published 12-18-2014)


Emissions Standards for Brick and Structural Clay Products Manufacturing

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule that would establish national emission standards for brick and structural clay products manufacturing and for clay ceramics manufacturing.  The proposed rule would impose emission standards for certain pollutants and work practice standards, as well as testing and other compliance requirements.  The EPA estimates that several small brick manufacturing facilities are at significant risk of closure under the proposed standards. (Published 12-18-2014; Comment Deadline Extension Published 12-31-2014)


Regulatory Resources

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments