By Claudia Rodgers, Senior Counsel
The Office of Advocacy traveled to the Midwest to meet with small business owners in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois during the week of July 16, 2018 to find out which federal regulations are in need of reform. These Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables were held as part of Advocacy’s ongoing effort to assist federal agencies in their mandate from President Trump to review existing regulations and determine which are ripe for reform. (See Executive Order 13771 and 13777). The complaints we heard were many and the impact of overly burdensome regulations are quite real in this part of the country.
Farmers, ranchers and others in the transportation industry expressed concern about the Department of Transportation’s Hours of Service and Electronic Logging Device regulations. Specifically, they described how these rules do not fit the livestock industry and actually endanger their product, live animals, and could lead to death and disease due to mandated inspection stops and driver rest breaks. “This is just another example of how the federal government uses a one-size-fits-all approach to regulation and ends up harming small businesses,” said an Iowa pork producer.
A business woman in the grain elevator industry told Advocacy their concerns with a number of OSHA regulations, including Combustible Dust, Grain Safety Equipment and Training, and Walking Working Surfaces. Businesses communicated that the costly requirements in these rules do not work for their operations as the spaces in their businesses are “vastly different” than in other industries. “We need common sense in Agriculture regulations….it’s a different world in our business and things just don’t operate the same way,” complained another small farmer.
A small car retailer told Advocacy that there are numerous federal regulations affecting his business. EPA, OSHA and the Department of Commerce are just a few of the agencies who promulgate rules that impact his business. One rule in particular he found to be a complete waste of time and outdated. EPA’s freon rule requires his employees to be trained and certified to handle freon, even though it is no longer used in his business or his industry.
A flour tortilla manufacturer, that has been in business for 20 years, complained to Advocacy about the new FDA nutritional labeling requirements and how the constant changing of federal regulations in her industry is costing her unnecessary time and expense. “I don’t have time to keep up with all of these new and changing regulations! And now, because of the high costs involved with complying, I no longer can update my equipment….. I’m fighting for my family and can’t afford to stay in business as a result of these regulations,” she declared.
These federal rules and more were discussed in the roundtables and local business site visits Advocacy held in the Midwest. Small businesses asked Advocacy to be their voice in the regulatory process and help them get the word to the federal agencies on many specific burdensome regulations. Advocacy will continue to inform agencies what we hear from small business owners and will continue to fight for regulatory relief on behalf of the little guy.
For more information on Advocacy’s mission, our regulatory reform efforts or to find out where the next Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables will be held, please visit: https://advocacy.sba.gov/regulation/regulatory-reform/
Advocacy was in Iowa for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables July 17-19.
Can’t get to a roundtable near you? Fill out this form and tell us about your federal regulatory burdens. We will pass this information on to the appropriate agency and use it in the planning of upcoming Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables.
Claudia Rodgers is Advocacy’s Senior Counsel. She can be reached at Claudia.Rodgers@sba.gov.