2020 Brings Important Milestones for Small Business

By Claudia Rodgers, Senior Counsel

Now that the new year and a new decade is here, there is much to celebrate. Not only is it a chance for a fresh start and a new outlook, this is an opportunity to look back and remember the past to see how far we have come. The same can be said for the regulatory environment for small businesses. 2020 rang in a number of anniversaries that are significant for small business with regard to regulations. Let’s take a moment to see the progress that has been made and mark the significant milestones.

President Trump signed two executive orders in 2017 that are now three years old. E.O. 13771 told agencies to find two regulations to get rid of before they could issue a new one. E.O. 13777 created a task force in every federal regulatory agency to help with the decision making as they review, revise and reform their rules. Although these mandates are now three years old, the regulatory reform effort continues, providing small businesses with needed relief from federal regulations. (For more information on Advocacy’s regulatory reform efforts, visit: https://advocacy.sba.gov/regulatory-reform/.)

This year is also the 18th anniversary of E.O. 13272, signed by President Bush in 2002. This executive order requires federal agencies to measure the impact of their proposed rules on small entities and to vet those decisions with the Office of Advocacy (Advocacy). It also requires Advocacy to provide training to all agencies on how to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), among other requirements.

So what is the RFA? The RFA is a very important law for small business that was passed in 1980 and is now celebrating it’s 40th year. The key requirement of the law is that federal agencies must analyze the impact of their regulatory actions on small entities and, where the impact is likely to be “significant”, affecting a “substantial number” of these small entities, agencies must seek less burdensome alternatives for them. The RFA has been strengthened over the years and one important amendment was in 1996 when SBREFA was passed; the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. 2020 celebrates 24 years of its passage. This law gave  courts the ability to review agency compliance with the RFA and mandated that certain agencies convene panels to consult with small entities on regulations expected to have a significant impact on them, before the rules are proposed.

This year Advocacy also celebrates the 44th year of its creation in 1976. Advocacy represents the views of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and policy makers. By representing the views of small entities in federal rulemaking, conducting economic research on small businesses issues and trends, and gathering information from small entities nationwide, Advocacy has become the voice of small business. Since the creation of this important office, Advocacy has calculated small business regulatory cost savings in the billions.

Claudia Rodgers is Advocacy’s Senior Counsel. She can be reached at Claudia.Rodgers@sba.gov.