Is Small Business Regulatory Relief on the Way?  

By at 23 May, 2017, 2:23 pm


There’s been some important progress on small business regulatory reform on Capitol Hill, and SBE Council continues to make its voice heard within the federal agencies. Indeed, SBE Council’s agenda is moving forward as our staff and leaders regularly meet with the President’s team and federal officials, providing input on issues as well as feedback regarding regulations and regulatory actions that can be pared back, streamlined or changed as directed by President Trump’s Executive Orders and other initiatives.

Recently, for example, SBE Council’s team and members met with U.S. Treasury officials to discuss access to capital issues, including bank and online lending, equity and debt-based crowdfunding, and rules and red tape that impede small business capital formation and access.

Regulatory Reform Moves Forward in the U.S. Senate

The U.S. House has already passed a slew of bills to rein in the federal regulatory system and to make regulators and the process more accountable and transparent.  A key Senate committee passed various pieces of legislation on May 17, to bring these reform bills one step closer to the President’s desk. This is critically important progress!  Remember, federal regulators and bureaucrats make and enforce rules under a system that has not changed for more than 70 years.  This is a system that is unfair and not working for small business – it is mired in secrecy, complexity, and inequities that work against small business.

On May 17, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed S. 34, Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 (8-6); S. 951, Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (9-5); S.21, Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (8-6); S. 577, Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act of 2017; S. 584, Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (8-6); and S. 579, the Early Participation in Regulations Act of 2017(11-3).  SBE Council supports each of these important bills.

Highlights: Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, S 584 – This legislation reforms the regulatory process to ensure that all federal agencies consider the impact of their rules on small businesses.  S. 584 will help reduce red tape, and embeds principles and steps in a process that will improve the regulatory system.  S. 584, sponsored by Senator James Lankford (R-OK), unfortunately did not garner any Democrat votes in committee, which is odd given many members’ vocal support for giving entrepreneurs a voice in the regulatory process and making sure regulators understand the impact of their proposed rules on small businesses.  SBE Council joined a broad coalition of state, local, and national small business organizations in support of the “Small Business Regulatory Improvements Act,” S. 584.  Thank you to our members who weighed in and called their Senators in support of this important bill, as well as your action taken on the Portman-Heitkamp Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA).  (To review the differences between the House passed RAA (H.R. 5) and the Senate RAA bill, please click here.)


SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan writes that members of Congress who constantly “talk” about too much red tape on small businesses need to get on board and vote for the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act as a way to prove their support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Read Kerrigan’s May 16, Op-ed in The Hill here. 

Your Voice Needed on Regulatory Reform and Relief!

The SBA Office of Advocacy is hosting Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables across the country to hear directly from small businesses about what regulations concern them the most.  The first of the roundtables will be hosted in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, respectively, on June 7 and 8, 2017.  The Baton Rouge roundtable will take place at the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry Conference (LABI) Conference Center on June 7, and the New Orleans roundtable will be held on June 8 at the New Orleans Marriot on Canal Street.   Times, draft agendas and important info are provided on the links to each event (above). The purpose of the Regional Regulatory Roundtables is to:

-Identify regional small business regulatory issues in order to assist agencies with regulatory reform and reduction in compliance with Trump’s Executive Orders 13771 & 13777.

-Compile crucial information for Advocacy’s new report on existing small business regulatory burdens across the nation, identifying specific recommendations for regulatory changes based upon first-hand accounts from small businesses across the country.

WANTED: Your Regulatory Solutions

SBE Council’s Karen Kerrigan writes in a blog post that entrepreneurs and small business owners have a big opportunity to help reshape the regulatory system, and identify rules and processes that are particularly burdensome, unneeded, or out-of-date.  Read background on President’s Trumps Executive Orders and how you can weigh in through a new online platform created by the SBA Office of Advocacy here.

Share Your Ideas for Reforming the Federal Government – June 12 Deadline!

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can share their ideas and suggestions for reforming the federal government. White House officials have set a June 12 deadline to offer suggestions.  Under the direction of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, the White House has set up a web page where Americans can offer suggestions on how “to reorganize the executive branch and eliminate unnecessary agencies.” The online form allows users to choose from a variety of agencies, including OMB itself, and lay out a case for changing how they operate—or eliminating them outright.

Regulatory Sanity: FCC Votes to Restore Internet Freedom

On May 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on a notice of proposed rulemaking to restore Internet freedom by lifting public-utility style regulation on broadband providers and returning to a light-touch regulatory framework that has governed the Internet throughout most of its existence. Among other items, the proposal seeks to return the policing of Internet privacy practices back to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where it belongs.  SBE Council supports Chairman Ajit Pai’s actions, as the intrusive regulations (Title II) imposed by Obama’s FCC were not needed, and investment has suffered under the weight and complexity of this red tape.  As SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said in a media release about Pai’s restoring Internet freedom proposal:

“Entrepreneurs understand that intrusive government regulation does not produce opportunity, but actually creates undue barriers to new business creation, competition, innovation and investment. The dreadful red tape that Chairman Pai seeks to cut through this proposed rulemaking would restore a vibrant Internet ecosystem that is welcoming to investment.”

There will be an opportunity to weigh in on the new order, which will be a transparent process this time around (versus the 317-page Title II order that was kept secret from the public under Chairman Tom Wheeler), and a cost-benefit analysis will also be conducted.  Stay tuned for more information!

Related resources:

Does Internet Regulation Help Small Businesses and Women-Owned Firms?
The Real Story on Broadband Service Competition and Regulation

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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