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.



 
Agricultural Worker Protection Standard for Pesticides

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA has issued a proposed rule that updates and revises their existing worker protection regulation for pesticides.   The proposed rule will affect over 300,000 small farms, nurseries, and greenhouses, and several hundred small commercial entities that are contracted to apply pesticides. (Published 3-19-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 8-18-2014

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




Energy Labeling Rule

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC has proposed a rule to make changes to its existing Energy Labeling Rule.  The proposed rule would expand coverage of the Lighting Facts label, change the current label categories for refrigerators and revise the ceiling fan label design.  Small light bulb manufacturers and online and paper catalog sellers of covered products will be affected. (Published 6-18-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-18-2014

National Emission Standards for Off-Site Waste and Recovery Operations

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA has issued a proposed rule that would amend the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for off-site waste and recovery operations. Small energy production firms, refineries, manufacturers, and waste treatment facilities that are involved in the off-site waste and recovery operations sector may be affected. (Published 7-1-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 8-18-2014

Review of the Mango Promotion, Research, and Information Order

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

The AMS is reviewing the Mango Promotion, Research, and Information Order which is administered by the National Mango Board and is seeking comments from affected small businesses.  The review will determine whether the Order should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded to minimize its impacts on small businesses. (Published 6-20-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 8-19-2014

Air Travel Consumer Protections

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The DOT has issued proposed rules that would enhance protections for air travelers and improve the air travel environment. The agency expects that a total of 87 small U.S. and foreign air carriers may be affected by this rulemaking and seeks comment its expected impact. (Published 5-23-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-21-2014

Clarification of Specialty Metals Restrictions

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD is proposing to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to clarify the applicability of requirements for the acquisition of certain articles that contain specialty metals.  Small defense contractors and subcontractors may be affected. (Published 6-23-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-22-2014

Animal Welfare Regulations for Defense Contracting

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 comply with the DOD Instruction that addresses the use of animals in DOD programs. Small defense contractors may be affected. (Published 6-24-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Notification of Afghan Tax Requirements for Foreign Contracts in Afghanistan

Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has proposed a rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to notify contractors of requirements relating to Afghan taxes. Small defense contractors may be affected. (Published 6-24-2014)

IRFA - YES | ​COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Advisory Small Business Size Decisions

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to establish a safe harbor from misrepresentation penalties for parties that erroneously claim to be a small business if the party relied in good faith upon a Small Business Development Center or Procurement Technical Assistance Center small business status advisory opinion.  The proposed rule also defines what constitutes an adequate advisory opinion and updates the circumstances under which SBA may initiate a formal size determination. (Posted 6-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Defense Contractors Performing Private Security Functions
 
Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System

The DOD has proposed a rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to address DOD-unique requirements for defense contractors performing private security functions outside the United States.  Small defense contractors may be affected. (Published 6-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2014
 
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to implement 2014 limits on fishing effort by purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone and on the high seas. Small purse seine vessels could be affected. (Published 7-25-2014)  

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

American Lobster Fishery

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


The NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would change the American lobster regulations for a number of the Lobster Conservation Management Areas. These changes would include trap reductions and broodstock measures. Small federal lobster permit holders fishing in certain areas of the Lobster Conservation Management Area could be affected. (Published 7-25-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 8-25-2014

Home Health Prospective Payment System Rates

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)


The HHS has issued a proposed rule that would update the Home Health Prospective Payment System rates under Medicare for home health agencies, effective January 1, 2015.  Small healthcare providers and medical suppliers will be affected. (Published 7-7-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-2-2014

End-Stage Renal Disease Prospective Payment System
 
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

The CMS has issued a proposed rule to update and make revisions to the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) prospective payment system under Medicare for calendar year 2015. Small ESRD facilities and their suppliers will be affected. (Published 7-11-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-2-2014

Revisions to Medicare Payment Policies 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)


The CMS has issued a proposed rule to address changes to the physician fee schedule, and other Medicare Part B payment policies to ensure that their payment systems are updated to reflect changes in medical practice and the relative value of services. Small hospitals, practitioners and other providers and suppliers will be affected (Published 7-11-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-2-2014 

Hospital Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgical Centers Policy and Payment Changes for 2015
 
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

The CMS has issued a proposed rule that would revise the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system and the Medicare ambulatory surgical center payment system for calendar year 2015. Most hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and community mental health centers are small entities and will be affected. (Published 7-14-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-5-2014

Management of Community Quota Entities in the Gulf of Alaska

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


The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to allow Gulf of Alaska Community Quota Entities (CQEs) to transfer and hold small blocks of halibut and sablefish quota share. Forty-five CQEs, which represent small communities, would be affected. (Published 8-7-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-8-2014
  

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program Requirements

Department of Education (DOE)


The DOE has issued a proposed rule that would update the standards for determining whether a parent or student has an adverse credit history for purposes of eligibility for a Direct PLUS Loan. Small for-profit and non-profit higher education institutions that participate in Title IV, Higher Education Act loan programs, could be affected. (Published 8-8-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-8-2014

Justification of Pass-Through Contracts

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


DOD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement additional requirements relative to the review and justification of Pass-Through contracts. Small firms that contract with these agencies and require subcontractors will be affected. (Published 7-10-2014)

IRFA - NO | COMMENTS DUE 9-9-2014

Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data Report

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

The NOAA has issued a proposed rule to collect baseline economic data on the trawl groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) to evaluate the economic effects of current and anticipated future fishery management measures.  Small entities including vessel owners and leaseholders of GOA trawl vessels, processors receiving deliveries from those trawl vessels, and trawl catcher/processors would be affected.  (Published 8-11-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-10-2014

Business Systems Compliance
 
Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Acquisition Regulations System


The DOD has issued a proposed rule to require contractors to ensure that their business systems are complying with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement. Small defense contractors will be affected. (Published 7-22-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-15-2014

Importation of Cattle from Sonora, Mexico
 
Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

The APHIS has issued a proposed rule to recognize the State of Sonora as a region in Mexico that is free of fever ticks and remove restrictions on the importation of cattle from Sonora. Small ranchers and cattle producers could be affected. (Published 7-17-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-15-2014

Importation of Apples from China
 
Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)


The APHIS has issued a proposed rule to allow the importation of fresh apples (Malus pumila) from China into the continental United States. Small apple growers, in particular those who grow Fuji apples, and small importers of apples will be affected.  (Published 7-18-2014)

IRFA - YES | COMMENTS DUE 9-16-2014

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  

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 9-30-2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Regulatory Resources
 

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments