Advocacy Participates in ABA Expert Session on SBREFA Panels
Two of Advocacy’s attorneys, Assistant Chief Counsels Bruce Lundegren and Kevin Bromberg, were key members of a panel at the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section conference in Washington, D.C., on October 25. The panel, “Building Effective SBREFA Panels,” explored the requirements for incorporating small business input into regulatory proposals as set forth in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA). Bruce Lundegren moderated the panel and Kevin Bromberg was a panelist, along with Lanelle Wiggins of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bob Burt of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Jeff Longsworth of Barnes & Thornburg LLC, a private law firm.
When it became law in 1996, SBREFA required EPA and OSHA to convene review panels for each proposed rule that, if promulgated, would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities—small businesses, nonprofit organizations, or governmental jurisdictions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), recently created by the Dodd-Frank Act, is also subject to the SBREFA panel requirement.
A SBREFA panel is made up of representatives of the federal agency (EPA, OSHA, or CFPB), the Office of Advocacy, and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Assisting the panel in reviewing the draft rule and background materials are small entity representatives from the industries affected by the proposal. They provide advice and recommendations to the panel. The panel then compiles a report of its findings and submits it to the head of the agency.
The ABA panel participants explored the nature and depth of materials provided to the small entity representatives, as well as procedures for ensuring effective dialogue between the small entity reps and the panelists. Lanelle Wiggins and Bob Burt discussed their respective agencies’ views about SBREFA, while Jeff Longsworth and Kevin Bromberg looked at the process from the perspectives of a legal practitioner and the Office of Advocacy.
A successful panel will help an agency achieve its statutory objectives while minimizing the impact on small entities, the panel concluded. The process is successful when a well-selected group of small entity reps provides informed and effective advice to the panel, allowing the panel to reach consensus recommendations on how to achieve effective and less burdensome regulation.
The attorneys on the panel have all been involved in many SBREFA panels, and they provided important input on the process, especially to the CFPB officials in attendance at the session.
—Bruce Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel