Wide Range of Regulatory Issues Highlight New Jersey Roundtable
By Bruce Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel
The Office of Advocacy hosted a Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Princeton, New Jersey on September 11, 2018 that attracted dozens of small businesses and their representatives who were eager to discuss federal regulations that impact small business.
The discussion began with several prominent transportation issues, including the regulation of ride sharing services, the use of small aerial drones for safety inspections, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service of Drivers (HOS) and Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) rules for commercial truckers. First, a small limousine company argued that ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft should be regulated because they have an unfair economic advantage over limousines, that he said are safer because they are inspected, licensed, and operated by drivers with commercial driver’s licenses. Next, a commercial drone operator complained that the Federal Aviation Administration was not acting quickly enough to approve his application to operate a small drone in restricted airspace to conduct critical bridge safety inspection work in New York City. And the issue of HOS and ELDs for commercial motor carriers and drivers came up once again, with a small carrier saying the FMCSA needs to provide more flexibility for the transportation of perishable and other sensitive items.
Paperwork and reporting requirement were also a big topic for the attendees. Several attendees argued that the Small Business Administration and the Federal Acquisition Regulations need to be streamlined to take advantage of modern technology and to better distinguish between large and small businesses. One small business owner stated that small businesses should not have to hire lawyers and accountants to participate in the federal procurement process. Others complained of the paperwork requirements of the Affordable Care Act and discussed the serious labor shortage problem.
Labor issues were also at the forefront, including the concerns of small employers of raising the minimum wage, the Department of Labor’s prospective new “Overtime” rule, and the enforcement and lack of flexibility in the H2-A visa program for seasonal agricultural workers. One small business stated that federal agencies should be providing more compliance assistance for affected small businesses rather than issuing citations.
Some of the most compelling comments of the day came from a small chemical distributor and a commercial fisherman who operates out of New Jersey. Both described being regulated by multiple federal agencies and subject to multiple regulatory programs – some of which are duplicative, overlapping, and conflicting. They both also cited new Federal Drug Administration rules on food safety as being overly burdensome and complex.
All said, it was a wide ranging and very interesting discussion with small business owners from the New Jersey area.
Advocacy was in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables from September 10- 14.
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Bruce Lundegren is an Assistant Chief Counsel for Advocacy whose portfolio includes safety, transportation, and security. Lundegren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.