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.



 
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)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 12-22-2014

Government Contractor Employee Compensation Report

Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

The OFCCP has issued a proposed rule that would require certain federal government contractors and subcontractors to submit an annual report with information on compensation paid to employees by sex, race, ethnicity, and specified job categories. Certain small contractors and subcontractors with more than 100 employees would be affected. (Published 8-8-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-5-2014



Prohibitions Against Pay Secrecy Policies and Actions

Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

The OFCCP has issued a proposed rule that would prohibit federal contractors from discharging or discriminating against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation of another employee or applicant.  The agency estimates compliance costs would be less than three percent of the average revenue of small contractors but seeks feedback on its analysis. (Published 9-17-2014) 

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-16-2014

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region

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

The NOAA has proposed an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and Atlantic Region.  The proposal would affect all commercial and for-hire fishing vessels that harvest the coastal migratory pelagic species managed in the Gulf and Atlantic regions. (Published 10-17-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-16-2014

Honey Packers and Importers Assessment Rate Increase

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

The USDA has issued a proposed rule that would increase the assessment rate from $0.01 per pound to $0.015 per pound on honey and honey products, over a two-year period.  The agency expects over 600 importers and 40 first-handlers of honey to be affected by the proposed rule. (Published 11-18-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-18-2014

Red Snapper Management Measures

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would revise the recreational accountability measures and establish a recreational annual catch target for red snapper in the exclusive economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico.  The agency seeks comment on how the proposal will affect the over 1,000 small vessel operators that it expects will be subject. (Published 11-21-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-22-2014

Importation of Beef From Argentina

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

The USDA has issued a proposed rule to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from northern Argentina.  Small United States beef producers would be affected. (Published 10-31-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-29-2014

Update of Competitive Bidding Rules

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule that would revise its rules governing competitive bidding for spectrum licenses to reflect changes in the marketplace, including the challenges faced by new entrants.  The agency expects the proposal to potentially affect thousands of wireless telecommunications carriers and broadband providers and seeks comment on the expected impact.  (Published 11-14-2015)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-29-2014

Low Power Television Digital Rules

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule that would allow television broadcast receiver manufacturers and importers to build and import devices without analog tuners before all translator stations cease analog broadcasting.  The agency expects over 1,000 small television broadcasting operations and small electronics equipment manufacturers to be subject to the proposal and seeks comment on how they will be affected. (Published 11-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-29-2014

Test Procedure for Ceiling Fans

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

The EERE has issued a proposed rule that would revise the statutory definition of a ceiling fan to include hugger ceiling fans (those typically understood to be set flush to the ceiling) and to amend its test procedure for ceiling fans.  If the proposed rule is finalized, small ceiling fan manufacturers would incur additional compliance costs associated with testing ceiling fans. (Published 10-17-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-31-2014

Revisions to Charter Halibut Fisheries Management in Alaska

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule pertaining to fishing for Pacific halibut in certain areas of Alaska.  It would remove the requirement that a guided sport (charter) vessel guide be on board the same vessel as a charter vessel angler to provide sport fishing guide services.  The agency seeks comment on how the proposal will affect charter vessel operators, all of which are small businesses.  (Published 12-3-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-2-2015

Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has issued a proposed rule to further implement inflation adjustment of acquisition-related dollar thresholds. While the agency does not expect small businesses to face a significant economic impact, it does expect that the proposed rule will affect small federal contractors. (Published 11-6-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-5-2015

Unlicensed Use of TV Band Spectrum

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed for unlicensed operations in the frequency bands that are now and will continue to be allocated and assigned to broadcast television services after the incentive auction.  The agency expects over 900 small manufacturers of radio and television broadcasting equipment to be subject to the proposal.  (Published 11-21-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-5-2015

Spectrum Access for Wireless Microphones

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule that seeks comments on  how to accommodate the long-term needs of wireless microphone users following the recent repurposing of broadcast television band spectrum for wireless services.  The agency expects over 400 small low power auxiliary device manufacturers and thousands of cable television providers to be in the purview of the proposal. (Published 11-21-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-5-2015

Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule that would make a variety of changes to interstate and intrastate inmate calling services.  The agency expects thousands of small wired telecommunications carriers, local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, and local resellers to be potentially subject to the proposal and seeks comments on its expected effect.  (Published 11-21-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-5-2015

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Data Rights and Phase III Awards

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA is seeking comments from the public regarding planned revisions to the policy directives outlining SBIR and STTR data rights and SBIR and STTR Phase III awards.  Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on the extent to which an awardee owns the data it generates in performance of an award.  (Published 11-7-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 1-6-2015

Test Procedures for Ceiling Fan Light Kits

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

The DOE has issued a proposed rule that would revise its test procedures for ceiling fan light kits (CFLK).  The department expects that small CFLK manufacturers would face new costs associated with new efficiency performance testing requirements for certain CFLKs.  (Published 10-31-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-14-2015

New Requirements for Several Lockheed Martin Airplane Models

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

The FAA has issued a proposed rule that would require operators of several Lockheed Martin airplane models to replace certain outer wings with new or certain serviceable outer wings.  The agency expects seven air transport operators that are small businesses will face increased costs as a result of the proposal.  (Published 12-1-2014)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-15-2015

Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds

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


DOD, GSA, and NASA have issued a proposed rule that would adjust acquisition-related dollar thresholds for inflation.  The agencies expect that small businesses could be affected by the proposal due to a provision that would temporarily narrow the dollar range within which acquisitions are automatically set aside for small business concerns. (Published 11-25-2014)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-26-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 1-30-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 2-2-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 2-2-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 2-2-2015

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)
 

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 2-9-2015

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)

IRFA -YES | COMMENTS DUE 2-26-2015

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


Regulatory Resources
 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments