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:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Carrier Safety Fitness Determination

The FMCSA has issued a proposed rule to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to revise the evaluation process for identifying unfit motor carriers. This proposed rule would increase the amount of on-road safety performance data used in the evaluation as well as eliminate the current three-tier rating system in favor of a single determination system. The agency expects that this proposed rule could affect roughly 503,000 small businesses that are commercial motor carriers, which operate buses and trucks. (PUBLISHED 1-21-2016)


COMMENTS DUE 5-23-2016
 United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
Enhancing Retailer Standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

FNS has issued a proposed rule that would require retailers participating in the SNAP program to increase their required variety of the four staple food categories from three to seven.  In addition, the FNS is proposing changes to address depth of stock, amend the definition of staple foods, and amend the definition of “retail food store.” This proposed rule would affect 200,000 small grocery stores and convenience stores and could make it more costly and difficult for small retailers to participate in the SNAP program. (PUBLISHED 2-17-2016; COMMENT PERIOD EXTENSION PUBLISHED 4-5-2016)

IRFA - Yes 

COMMENTS DUE 5-18-2016

Small Business Administration (SBA)
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Policy Directive

The SBA has posted a notice of proposed amendments to the SBIR and STTR Policy Directives. Specificallu, he SBA is proposing to issue a single directive for both programs, clarify unnecessary language, and further clarify data rights, Phase III awards, and benchmarks for progress to commercialization for both programs. In 2015, over 2,100 small businesses received SBIR or STTR grants. (PUBLISHED 4/7/2016)



Small Business Administration (SBA)

Disaster Assistance Loan Program; Disaster Loan Mitigation, Contractor Malfeasance and Secured Threshold

The SBA has issued a proposed rule to amend its disaster loan program regulations in response to the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015. The proposed rule would expand the definition of a mitigating measure, increase the unsecured threshold for physical damage loans for non-major disasters, and allow the SBA to increase loan amounts to address contractor malfeasance.  The proposed changes would affect all eligible recipients of SBA disaster loans for disasters declared on or after November 25, 2015. (PUBLISHED 4-6-2016)



Regulatory Resources:

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda
Tips for Submitting Effective Comments