Regulatory Watch


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 had trouble with an agency or regulation, please feel free to share your story with the Committee.

Regulations to Watch:

 
Department of Defense (DoD) General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Federal Acquisition Regulations:Effective Communication between Government and Industry

DoD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule that would permit and encourage agency acquisition personnel to engage in responsible and constructive exchanges with industry, in a manner consistent with existing law that does not promote unfair competitive advantages. The agencies expect the rule would positively affect the approximately 75,000 small businesses that received federal contracts in FY 2015. (PUBLISHED 11-29-2016)

IRFA- Yes 

COMMENTS DUE 3-2-2017
 
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Medicare Program; Establishment of Special Payment Provisions and Requirements for Qualified Practitioners and Qualified Suppliers of Prosthetics and Custom-Fabricated Orthotics

The CMS has issued a proposed rule that specifies qualifications and requirements to be met in order to be considered a qualified practitioner or supplier of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). The proposed rule would specify training, licensing, and certification requirements to define key terms, require that DMEPOS claims are submitted by qualified physicians or practitioners, and other requirements. Under this proposed rule, the agency expects that 12,250 physicians and practitioners who have previously billed Medicare for DMEPOS would need to meet accreditation requirements to continue to provide and/or bill for these devices. To be accredited, these physicians and practitioners would each face $1,500 in accreditation fees, as well as compliance burden costs. (PUBLISHED 1-12-2017)

IRFA - No

COMMENTS DUE 3-17-2017
 
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
National Organic Program (NOP): Sunset 2017 Amendments to the National List

The AMS has issued a proposed rule that would remove 11 substances from the National List for use in organic production and handling. Among others, this list includes: chia; dillweed oil; and chipoltle chile peppers. This proposed rule would affect small agricultural producers, handlers, and accredited certifying agencies who would be required to remove these substances from production of organic products. (PUBLISHED 1-18-2017)

IRFA -  Yes

COMMETS DUE 3-20-2017
 
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order; Referendum Procedures

The AMS invites comments on procedures for conducting a referendum on whether an Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order is favored by certified organic producers, handlers, and importers. The procedures would cover definitions, voting instructions, use of subagents, ballots, the referendum report, and confidentiality of information. The agency estimates that there are 10,126 small organic producers that would be affected by an Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order. (PUBLISHED 1-18-2017)

IRFA - Yes

COMMETS DUE 3-20-2017
 
Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Federal Acquisition Regulation: Sustainable Acquisition

DoD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule to amend the federal government's Acquisition Regulation to promote the acquisition of sustainable products, services, and construction methods within the federal government. Specifically, this proposed rule will revise key terms, update sustainability factors considered in acquisitions, increase the scope of sustainable acquisitions, and other requirements. The agencies expect this will affect small contractors in a variety of industries, including information technology and telecommunications, managerial and administrative support services, installation, maintenance, repair and rebuilding of equipment, janitorial, construction, manufacturing, and energy through changes in factors used to evaluate acquisitions. (PUBLISHED 1-18-2017)

IRFA - Yes 

COMMENTS DUE 3-20-2017
 
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order

The AMS has issued a proposed rule that would establish an industry-funded promotion, research, and information program for certified organic products. The program's goal is to address domestic supply shortages, challenges with effective pest management, and market confusion. The agency expects that small organic producers, handlers, and importers would face increased reporting and recordkeeping burdens through this proposed rule. Assessment costs will only be required if a business's gross organic sales or transactional value of organic goods imported exceeds $250,000 in a year. (PUBLISHED 1-18-2017)

IRFA - Yes 

COMMENTS DUE 3-20-2017
 
Department of Labor: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Prevention of Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Assistance

OSHA is considering whether standards to prevent workplace violence in the health care and social assistance industries is necessary and is seeking information that would help develop such standards. Specifically, OSHA is interested in feedback regarding currently implemented workplace violence prevention programs and policies, hazard identification and prevention, recordkeeping policies, and other workplace violence prevention evaluations. (PUBLISHED 12-7-2016)

IRFA - No

COMMENTS DUE 4-6-2017


Regulatory Resources:

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments