Regulatory Watch


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,, 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:

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 4-19-2017
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 4-19-2017
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)



Regulatory Resources:

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments