Background

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, Regulations.gov, 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.



 


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)

IRFA -NO | COMMENTS DUE 2-27-2015

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; Comment Deadline Extension Published 1-28-2014)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-17-2015

 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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-19-2015



 Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations

Department of Labor (DOL)

The DOL has issued a notice that it is reviewing its existing significant regulations that impose large, ongoing burdens on the public. It is requesting comments on how it can improve any of its significant regulations by modernizing, modifying, redesigning, streamlining, expanding, or repealing them. (Published 2-3-2015)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 2-25-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-2-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-2-2015

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)    

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-2-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-9-2015

Ozone
 
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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-18-2015

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The NHTSA has issued a notice that it is reviewing its existing rules related to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, motorcycles, and motor vehicle equipment to identify those that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses. The agency is seeking comments on how it could make these regulations easier to read and understand. (Published 1-23-2015)

 IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 3-24-2015

Small Creditors and Rural or Underserved Areas

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)


The CFPB has issued a proposed rule that amends certain mortgage rules issued in 2013. The proposed rule revises the CFPB's regulatory definitions of small creditor, and rural and underserved areas, for purposes of certain special provisions and exemptions from various requirements provided to certain small creditors under its rules. (Published 2-11-2015)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 3-30-2015

Fair Packaging and Labeling Act Rules

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)


The FTC has issued a proposed rule to amend its regulations implementing the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (Act). It would expand labeling options to accommodate the rise of online media, remove unnecessary price statement prohibitions, and make other technical changes. Small companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer commodities covered by the Act would be affected. (Published 2-2-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 3-31-2015

Energy Conservation Standards for Commercial Warm Air Furnaces

Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


The DOE has issued a proposed rule that would amend its energy conservation standards for commercial warm air furnaces. Small manufacturers of these furnaces could incur significant conversion costs to update their products to meet the new standards. (Published 2-4-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 4-6-2015

Small Business Mentor Protégé Program

Small Business Administration (SBA)


The SBA has issued a proposed rule to implement provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 addressing small business participation in government contracting. It would establish a government-wide mentor-protégé program for all small businesses that participate in the federal procurement marketplace, consistent with SBA's mentor-protégé program for Participants in SBA's 8(a) Business Development (BD) program and make minor changes to the mentor-protégé provisions for the 8(a) BD program. (Published 2-5-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 4-6-2015

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; Comment Deadline Extension Published 1-23-2015)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 4-8-2015

Energy Conservation Standards for Hearth Products

Energy Conservation Standards for Hearth Products

The DOE has issued a proposed rule to establish a new energy conservation standard for hearth products. It would disallow the use of continuously burning pilots in hearth products. Small manufacturers of hearth products would be affected by the increased costs associated with electronic ignition systems and the added burdens could make it difficult for small manufacturers to remain competitive. (Published 2-9-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 4-10-2015

Review of Federal Milk Marketing Orders

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

The AMS has issued a notice that it is reviewing the Federal Milk Marketing Order program to determine whether it should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded to minimize any significant economic impact of rules upon a substantial number of small businesses. The agency seeks comments from small businesses on the program. (Published 2-11-2015)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 4-13-2015

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; Comment Deadline Extension Published 2-6-2015)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 5-27-2015


Regulatory Resources
 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments