Regulatory Watch (OLD)


Small Biz Reg Watch

113th CONGRESS SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE REGULATORY ALERTS
 

Background

Government regulations and red tape can be a tremendous barrier to small business growth. Small businesses pay a regulatory compliance cost that is 36 percent higher than large businesses. With roughly 4,100 new regulations in the pipeline it should come as no surprise that government regulations and red tape consistently rank as top concerns of small business owners.

With so many new regulations, it is important for small businesses to be aware of what is coming and how to comply. More importantly, small businesses should realize that they have a voice in the rulemaking process.

Federal agencies publish proposed and final rules and other notices and documents in the Federal Register to provide notice to “interested persons” and an opportunity to comment. Regulations.gov is the federal government’s online portal that allows citizens to comment on regulatory actions.

Below are regulatory proposals that are open for 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 effect 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 entrepreneurs to get involved by letting federal agencies and departments know how the regulatory proposal will affect them. If you provide input to an agency, please feel free to also share your comments and concerns with the Committee through our Open Mic page.

Regulatory Resources

The Regulatory Flexibility Act
Regulatory Agenda

Tips for Submitting Effective Comments


 Agency  Regulatory Action  How It Affects Your Small Business  IRFA   Comments Due
Department of Energy (DOE) Certification of Commercial Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning Equipment

The DOE has issued a proposed rule that makes changes to certification requirements for commercial heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, water heating, and refrigeration equipment.  The agency expects over 40 small manufacturers will be affected.

  ​Yes 
3/17/2014 - Click Here to Comment

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

Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 

NOAA has issued a proposed rule which would change Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery regulations pertaining to certified catch monitors and certified observers required for certain vessels.  It would affect businesses that supply observers for monitoring fishing and processing activities on a vessel at-sea and catch monitors who observe and document offloads at first receiver/processing plants on shore.

 ​Yes 3/21/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
New Exemption for Small Public Offerings  The SEC has issued a proposed rule to implement Title IV of the JOBS Act which is intended to increase access to capital for smaller companies.  The SEC’s proposal would build upon Regulation A, which is an existing exemption from registration for small offerings of securities up to $5 million within a 12-month period.  The updated exemption would enable companies to offer and sell up to $50 million of securities within a 12-month period.
 Yes 3/24/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Changes To Require Identification of Attributable Owner The PTO has proposed changes to the rules of practice to facilitate the examination of patent applications and to provide greater transparency concerning the ownership of patent applications and patents.  The attributable owner, including the ultimate parent entity, must be identified during the pendency of a patent application and at specified times during the life of a patent.  The agency estimates that 131,000 small or micro-sized businesses will be affected by the proposal.
​Yes
3/25/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Protecting Food Against Intentional Adulteration

The FDA has proposed a rule to require domestic and foreign food facilities that are required to register under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to address hazards that may be intentionally introduced by acts of terrorism.  These food facilities would be required to implement focused mitigation strategies to significantly minimize or prevent significant vulnerabilities.  FDA estimates that 4,100 small businesses will be affected by the proposed rule.

 Yes
3/31/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  Manufacturing Practices for Animal Food The FDA has proposed regulations that establish new requirements for facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold animal food.  The proposed rule applies to food facilities registered under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  It requires covered facilities to establish and implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls.  FDA estimates that average annualized compliance costs for affected small businesses will range from $14,700 to $20,100.  Yes 3/31/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Department of Defense (DOD) Storage, Treatment, or Disposal of Toxic Materials by Contractors DOD is proposing to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement regarding the storage, treatment, or disposal of toxic or hazardous materials not owned by DOD on DOD installations.  The proposal would affect contractors and subcontractors performing contracts that involve the storage, treatment, or disposal of toxic or hazardous materials.  Yes 3/31/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

2014 Tribal Fishery for Pacific Whiting

NOAA has issued a proposed rule that would allocate 17.5 percent of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch of Pacific whiting for 2014 to Pacific Coast Indian tribes.  The agency expects the proposal to directly affect 82 small vessel operating entities in the non-tribal fishery that fish for Pacific whiting.
 ​Yes 3/31/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Department of Defense (DOD);

General Services Administration (GSA);

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Federal Acquisition Regulation; Contracts Under the Small Business Administration 8(a) Program DOD, GSA and NASA have issued a proposed rule that would amend SBA's 8(a) contracting program, including clarification that it is the contracting officer's responsibility to determine that a potential contractor meets the applicable performance requirements.  The agencies state that the proposal does not place any new requirements on the 8,567 participants in the 8(a) program. Yes  4/4/2014 - Click Here to Comment
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)  Streamlining Union Elections   The NLRB is proposing a number of changes designed to streamline and speed up union elections at companies. The proposed rule would make significant changes to election procedures that would reduce the time available for employers to explain their perspective on union representation to their employees prior to a vote.    No
4/7/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse 
FMCSA has issued a proposed rule to establish a database, the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  Under the proposed rule, employers would be required to report positive drug and alcohol test results to the Clearinghouse and to query the Clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test result information on employees and prospective employees.  The proposed rule will affect 515,000 small motor carriers.
​Yes 4/21/2014 - Click Here to Comment
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
Local School Wellness Policy Implementation

The FNS has issued a proposed rule that would require all local educational agencies participating in the National School Breakfast or Lunch Programs to meet new wellness  requirements.  The proposed rule will affect approximately 21,000 local educational agencies and 105,000 schools as well as small vending machine operators and marketing companies.

Yes
4/28/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board)  Availability of Funds and Collection of Checks The Board has issued a proposed rule that would encourage depositary banks to receive and paying banks to send returned checks electronically.  The Board expects 12,164 small depository institutions to be subject to the proposed rule, and estimates their expected cost of compliance to be minimal. Yes  5/2/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters The EPA has issued a proposed rule that would amend performance standards for new residential wood heaters and other wood-burning appliances.  The agency estimates that almost all manufacturers of residential wood heaters, 90 percent of which are small businesses, would be affected by the proposed rule. Yes  5/5/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Terrestrial Broadband Network
The FCC has issued a proposed rule which would modify its rules for operation of the Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) of the single Mobile-Satellite Service system to allow Globalstar, Inc. to provide low-power ATC using its licensed spectrum.  The proposed rule may affect small satellite telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers of unlicensed communications devices.

Yes 5/5/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Power Plants EPA has proposed a rule that would establish carbon dioxide limits for new power plants (electric utility generating units).  The EPA is proposing separate standards for coal-fired and natural gas-fired electric utility generating units.  EPA asks for comments on the impact of the proposed rule on small power plants, including municipal and rural electric cooperatives.
No 5/9/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels

The FDA has issued a proposed rule to amend its labeling regulations for conventional foods and dietary supplements to provide updated nutrition information on the label.  Among other changes, the proposed rule would include an update of the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared.  Small food manufacturers will be affected.

Yes
6/2/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods
The FDA has issued a proposed rule to amend its regulations on serving sizes based on newer consumption data and other current scientific evidence.  The proposed rule makes several changes including amending the definition of a single-serving container.  Small food manufacturers will be affected.
​Yes
6/2/2014 - Click Here to Comment
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Effectiveness of Consumer Antiseptics The FDA has issued a proposed rule to require manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to demonstrate that their products are safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections. Small business manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes may need to reformulate or relabel their products to remain on the market.  Yes

FDA failed to publish a summary of the IRFA in the Federal Register as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  Please click here to view the IRFA on FDA's website. 
6/16/2014 - Click Here to Comment