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.



 
Electronic Reporting of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
 
Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The OSHA has proposed a rule that would require businesses to electronically submit injury and illness records and make that information available to the public through a searchable online database.  It has issued a supplemental notice seeking comment on whether the proposed rule should include additional requirements and prohibitions.  Small businesses in a variety of industries including agriculture, manufacturing, utilities, construction, retail and transportation would be affected.  (Published 8-14-2014) 
4-21-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-14-2014 

Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
Department of Defense, Department of Army, Corps of Engineers (Corps)

The EPA and Corps have proposed a rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” for the purpose of identifying which waters are subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Under the proposed rule, all tributaries (including rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, impoundments, canals and ditches unless excluded in the definition) and all adjacent waters and wetlands will be subject to CWA jurisdiction, permitting and other requirements.  On a case-by-case basis, EPA and the Corps could assert CWA jurisdiction over “other waters.”  Small businesses, such as farmers, ranchers, home builders and transportation construction firms, which carry out activities and projects on land with jurisdictional waters, may face new costs from permit applications, compensatory mitigation, and project delays, redesigns and relocations. (Published
4-21-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-20-2014

Home Mortgage Disclosure Reporting Requirements

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The CFPB has issued a proposed rule that would amend Regulation C, which implements the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), to revise reporting and disclosure requirements. The rule would also establish a uniform loan-volume threshold of 25 loans for determining which institutions are subject to HMDA reporting requirements. Small commercial banks and savings institutions, credit unions, and mortgage brokers and companies would be affected. In particular, non-depository institutions may incur one-time start up costs to develop reporting infrastructure. (Published 8-29-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-29-2014




Deposit Insurance Assessment

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The FDIC has issued a proposed rule to revise ratios and ratio thresholds relating to capital evaluations used in its risk-based deposit insurance and to revise the assessment system and assessment base calculation for custodial banks. Small insured depository institutions could face an increased deposit insurance assessment under this proposed action. (Published 7-24-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-22-2014

Alcohol and Drug Use Regulations for Maintenance of Way Employees

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

The FRA has issued a proposed rule to expand the scope of its alcohol and drug regulations to cover employees who perform maintenance-of-way activities (MOW). Small railroad companies and small MOW contractors and subcontractors will be affected. (Published 7-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-26-2014 

Connect America Fund

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule soliciting input on how best to maximize the reach of its Connect America program and leverage non-federal government funding to expand broadband access for households.  The agency seeks comment from small telecommunications companies. (Published 7-31-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-29-2014

Restrictions on the Importation of Pork from Mexico

Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

The APHIS has issued a proposed rule to amend the regulations governing the importation of animals and animal products to define a low-risk classical swine fever region in Mexico. The rule would allow the importation of fresh pork and pork products that meet certain requirements.  Small businesses that import pork from Mexico could be affected. (Published 7-29-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-29-2014  

Pacific Cod Pot Gear Fishing Closure

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to close year-round the Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone (PIHCZ) in the Bering Sea to directed fishing for Pacific cod with pot gear.  The closure would minimize bycatch and prevent overfishing of Pribilof Islands blue king crab.  Small businesses that own or operate fishing vessels in the PIHCZ could be affected.  (Published 8-29-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-29-2014

Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains

Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

The PHMSA has issued a proposed rule to impose new operational standards for certain trains transporting a large volume of Class 3 flammable liquids (e.g., crude oil and ethanol).  In addition, the rule would impose new tank car standards.  Small railroads, as well as offerors and shippers of mined gases and liquids, may be affected.

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-30-2014

Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions

Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

The FinCEN has issued a proposed rule that would revise financial institutions' customer due diligence requirements and impose a new requirement to identify beneficial owners of legal entity customers.  Small financial institutions (e.g. banks, trust companies, credit unions, brokers, dealers and mutual funds) would be affected. (Published 8-4-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-3-2014

Safety Standard for Sling Carriers

Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)


The CPSC has issued a proposed rule to establish safety standards for infant sling carriers. These standards would be substantially the same as existing voluntary standards. Small manufacturers and importers of infant sling carriers would be affected.  (Published 7-24-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-6-2014

Oceanic Whitetip and Silky Sharks

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would prohibit the retention, shipment, storage, or landing of oceanic whitetip sharks or silky sharks and would require the release of any caught oceanic whitetip or silky shark. The agency estimates nearly 3,000 small fishing vessel operators would be subject to the new restrictions. (Published 8-22-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-6-2014

Closed Captioning of Internet Video Clips

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The FCC has issued a proposed rule that would require closed captioning of video clips delivered over the Internet and extend closed captioning rules for video clips to third party distributors. Small entities that own, provide or distribute video clips over the Internet would be affected. (Published 8-5-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-6-2014

Uniform Use of Line Items

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


DOD, GSA and NASA have issued a proposed rule that would implement a uniform line item identification structure for the federal procurement system.  The requirements would apply to purchases of items, including commercial items and commercially available off-the-shelf items, and purchases under the simplified acquisition threshold.  Small federal contractors may be affected. (Published 8-5-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-6-2014

Changes to Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat
 
Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS);
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)


The FWS and NMFS have issued a proposed rule that would amend existing regulations governing the designation of critical habitat under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act.  Small businesses may be affected. (Published 6-26-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-9-2014

Amendments to Definition of Destruction or Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat
 
Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS);
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)


The FWS and NMFS have issued a proposed rule that would amend the existing regulations governing section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act to revise the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of critical habitat.  Small businesses may be affected. (Published 6-26-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-9-2014

2015 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to establish opening dates and adjust quotas for the 2015 fishing season for the Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.  The proposed measures could affect fishing opportunities for small commercial shark fishermen in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. (Published 9-11-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-14-2014

Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued proposed emission guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to address greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.  State-specific emissions goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector are included in the proposal.  States will establish standards that could affect small public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-16-2014

Carbon Pollution Standards for Modified and Reconstructed Power Plants
 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued proposed standards of performance to limit emissions of carbon dioxide from modified and reconstructed power plants.  Separate numeric standards have been proposed for different types of fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units and natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines.  Small public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives could be affected. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - NO |COMMENTS DUE 10-16-2014

Increased Limits of Liability for Vessels

United States Coast Guard (Coast Guard)

The Coast Guard has issued a proposed rule that would  increase the limits of liability for vessels, deepwater ports, and onshore facilities. Small vessel operators and onshore facilities could be affected. (Published 8-19-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-20-2014

Vessel Monitoring Systems

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to codify vessel monitoring system (VMS) type approval procedures and standards.  VMS equipment providers and any companies wishing to obtain VMS type approval in the future would be affected. (Published 9-9-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-24-2014

Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)


The IRS has issued a proposed rule to provide guidance for individuals who enroll in qualified health plans through healthcare exchanges and claim the premium tax credit.  The proposed rule will affect self-employed individuals.  (Published 7-28-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-27-2014

Importation of Fresh Citrus From China

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

The USDA has issued a proposed rule to allow the importation of five species of fresh citrus fruit from China into the continental United States.  Small businesses such as fresh citrus producers, auxiliary industries which support the production and distribution of fresh citrus in the United States, and importers could be affected.  (Published 8-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-27-2014

Electronic Submission of Technical Reports

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has issued a proposed rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to require scientific and technical reports be submitted in electronic format.  Small defense contractors could be affected. (Published 8-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-27-2014

Aquaculture in the Caribbean, Gulf, and South Atlantic

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to manage the development of the aquaculture industry in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico United States exclusive economic zone (Gulf EEZ).  The rule would directly affect small businesses that seek to locate offshore aquaculture and hatchery operations in the Gulf EEZ, small businesses that seek to purchase cultured animals from those waters and small commercial fishing vessels in certain areas of the Gulf EEZ. (Published 8-28-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-27-2014

Amendments to Pollution Standards for Petroleum Refineries

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


The EPA has issued a proposed rule to amend the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for petroleum refineries based on the results of the agency's review of developments in practices, processes and control technologies. The proposed rule includes new monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.  Small refiners will be affected. (Published 6-30-2014) 

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 10-28-2014

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 8-29-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 10-28-2014

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 11-6-2014

Importation of Fruits and Vegetables

Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

The APHIS has issued a proposed rule to allow it to approve all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the United States using a notice-based process, rather than through rulemaking.  The proposed rule would remove the region- and commodity-specific phytosanitary requirements from the regulations and replace them with a single performance standard.  Small farmers and wholesalers could be affected.  (Published 9-9-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 11-10-2014

Small Business Size Standards: Industries With Employee Based Size Standards

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to increase employee based small business size standards for 30 industries and three sub-industries and decrease them for three industries that are not part of North American Industry Classification System Sector 31-33 (Manufacturing), Sector 42 (Wholesale Trade), or Sector 44-45 (Retail Trade).  Businesses in a variety of industries including: energy production; mining; transportation; and publishing could be affected. (Published 9-10-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 11-10-2014

Small Business Size Standards for Manufacturing

Small Business Administration (SBA)


The SBA has issued a proposed rule to increase small business size standards for 209 industries in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sector 31-33, Manufacturing. The SBA has also proposed to increase the refining capacity component of the Petroleum Refiners (NAICS 324110) size standard to 200,000 barrels per calendar day total capacity for businesses that are primarily engaged in petroleum refining.  (Published 9-10-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 11-10-2014

Federal Supply Schedule Contracting

General Services Administration (GSA)

The GSA has issued a proposed rule to amend the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) to clarify and update the contracting by negotiation GSAR section and incorporate existing Federal Supply Schedule Contracting policies and procedures, and corresponding provisions and clauses.  Small contractors could be affected.  (Published 9-10-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 11-10-2014

Smoothhound Shark and Atlantic Shark Management Measures

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to implement management measures for smoothhound sharks (e.g., smooth dogfish, Florida smoothhound, and Gulf smoothhound). Small commercial fisherman and Atlantic shark dealers may be affected. (Published 8-6-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 11-14-2014

Captioning and Audio Description for Movie Theaters

Department of Justice (DOJ)

The DOJ has issued a proposed rule that would require movie theaters to provide closed captioning and audio description at all times.  Movie theaters would also need to have a certain number of individual closed captioning and audio description devices available, unless it would result in an undue burden or fundamental alteration.  Movie theater firms, 98 percent of which are small, would be affected. (Published 8-1-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 12-1-2014


Regulatory Resources
 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments