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.



 


Definition of Fiduciary
Department of Labor (DOL), Employee Benefits Security Administration

The DOL has issued a proposed rule to revise the regulatory definition of term "fiduciary" for the purposes of the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA).  The proposed rule would expand the number of service providers that are subject to fiduciary standards.  Small service providers (e.g., broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, consultants, appraisers, and others providing investment advice to small ERISA plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs)) would incur the costs of implementing new policies and procedures, training, and creating disclosures.  The DOL does not expect that the increased costs associated with the proposed rule would result in discontinued service to ERISA plans or IRAs.  (Published 4-20-2015)

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 7-6-2015

Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Stage 3

Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

The CMS has issued a proposed rule that specifies the meaningful use criteria that eligible professionals (e.g., physicians), eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments and avoid downward payment adjustments under Medicare.  While CMS expects EHR adoption will have positive effects, the agency estimates that eligible professionals would spend approximately $54,000 to purchase and implement a certified EHR and $10,000 annually for ongoing maintenance.  On average, eligible hospitals are expected to spend $5 million to achieve meaningful use and $1 million each year for maintenance, upgrades, and training.  (Published 3-30-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 5-29-2015

Small Business Development Center Program Revisions
Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input on potential amendments to current regulations governing the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program.  The agency asks for comments on implementation of statutory amendments, current practices, guidance on new grantee applicants, and provisions regarding the collection and use of individual SBDC client data. (Published 4-2-2015)

IRFA NO I COMMENTS DUE 6-1-2015



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 5-18-2015

Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA has issued a request for information.  The department is seeking input from the public on whether any existing significant regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.  (Published 3-17-2015)

IRFA - NO I COMMENTS DUE 5-18-2015

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

Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Stage 3

Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)


The CMS has issued a proposed rule that specifies the meaningful use criteria that eligible professionals (e.g., physicians), eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments and avoid downward payment adjustments under Medicare.  While CMS expects EHR adoption will have positive effects, the agency estimates that eligible professionals would spend approximately $54,000 to purchase and implement a certified EHR and $10,000 annually for ongoing maintenance.  On average, eligible hospitals are expected to spend $5 million to achieve meaningful use and $1 million each year for maintenance, upgrades, and training.  (Published 3-30-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 5-29-2015

Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Boilers

Department of Energy (DOE)


The DOE has issued a proposed rule to amend its energy conservation standards for residential boilers.  Small manufacturers of residential boilers would incur costs associated with redesigning, testing, and certifying their products to come into compliance with the new standard.  (Published 3-31-2015)

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 6-1-2015

Energy Conservation Standards for Pumps

Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE has issued a proposed rule to establish an energy conservation standard for pumps.  Small pump manufacturers would incur significant costs to redesign their pump models.  The DOE estimates that the total conversion costs that an average small manufacturer would face are $0.8 million and requests comment and data on the impact of the proposed standard on small manufacturers.  (Published 4-2-2015)

IRFA YES COMMENTS DUE 6-1-2015

Small Business Development Center Program Revisions

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input on potential amendments to current regulations governing the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program.  The agency asks for comments on implementation of statutory amendments, current practices, guidance on new grantee applicants, and provisions regarding the collection and use of individual SBDC client data. (Published 4-2-2015)

IRFA NO I COMMENTS DUE 6-1-2015

Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces

Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE has issued a proposed rule to amend energy conservation standards for residential non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home furnaces.  In comparison to large manufacturers of these types of furnaces, small manufacturers would face greater capital and product conversion costs. (Published 3-12-2015)

IRFA - NO I COMMENTS DUE 6-10-2015

Energy Conservation Test Procedure for Pumps

Department of Energy (DOE)


The DOE has issued a proposed rule to establish a new test procedure for pumps.  The department does not currently regulate the energy efficiency of pumps or have test procedures to measure the efficiency of such equipment so small pump manufacturers would face new compliance costs associated with building testing facilities and testing pumps.  (Published 4-1-2015)

IRFA YES
I 
COMMENTS DUE 6-15-2015


Electronic Health Record Incentive Program-Modifications to Meaningful Use in 2015 Through 2017

Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


The FDA has issued a proposed rule to implement changes to Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs.  These changes would better align the objectives and measures of meaningful use for 2015 through 2017 with the Stage 3 requirements, which were recently proposed.  Eligible professionals (e.g., physicians), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals would be affected. (Published 4-15-2015)   

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 6-15-2015

Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control

Department of Interior, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) 


The BSEE has issued a proposed rule to consolidate equipment and operational requirements pertaining to offshore oil and gas drilling, completions, workovers, and decommissioning.  The proposed rule would reform blowout preventer requirements, well design, well control, casing, cementing, real-time well monitoring, and subsea containment.  Small operators and holders of federal oil and gas leases would be affected. (Published 4-17-2015)

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 6-16-2015

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 6-19-2015

Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment of H-2B Foreign Workers in the United States 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Department of Labor  (DOL), Employment Training Administration


The DHS and the DOL have issued an interim final rule, effective April 29, 2015, that establishes the process by which employers obtain a temporary labor certification from DOL for use in petitioning DHS to employ a nonimmigrant worker in H–2B status.  Small seasonal businesses (e.g., tourism, lodging, landscaping and seafood processing businesses) that use the H-2B visa program to supplement their local workforce when they cannot find United States workers to meet their needs will be affected.  (Published 4-29-2015)

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 6-29-2015

 Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program

Small Business Administration (SBA)


The SBA has issued a proposed rule to partially implement section 825 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.  The proposed rule would establish the procedures whereby federal agencies may award sole source contracts to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) and to provide a mechanism to protest such awards.  The agency expects that the proposed rule will have a positive economic impact on WOSBs and EDWOSBs  that are competing for federal contracting opportunities.  (Published 5-1-2015)

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 6-30-2015

Definition of the Term "Fiduciary"

Department of Labor (DOL), Employee Benefits Security Administration


The DOL has issued a proposed rule to revise the regulatory definition of term "fiduciary" for the purposes of the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA).  The proposed rule would expand the number of service providers that are subject to fiduciary standards.  Small service providers (e.g., broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, consultants, appraisers, and others providing investment advice to small ERISA plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs)) would incur the costs of implementing new policies and procedures, training, and creating disclosures.  The DOL does not expect that the increased costs associated with the proposed rule would result in discontinued service to ERISA plans or IRAs.  (Published 4-20-2015)

IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 7-6-2015

National Organic Program; Origin of Livestock

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


The USDA has issued a proposed rule to amend the origin of livestock requirements for dairy animals under the USDA organic regulations. This proposed action would specify that a producer can transition dairy animals into organic production once and would also clarify how breeder stock should be managed on organic livestock farms.  Small dairy operations would be affected. (Published 4-28-2015)


IRFA YES I COMMENTS DUE 7-27-2015


Regulatory Resources:


The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments