Federal agencies Review committees

Small businesses underrepresented in rulemaking process, report says

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Washington – Health and safety standards could be weakened in certain cases because small businesses have been left out of the federal rulemaking process, according to a report from the Center for Effective Government.

The report notes that OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must initiate a small business review panel process if a proposed standard might have a significant impact on small businesses. However, the process has been influenced by big businesses and trade associations, the report claims.

The Center for Effective Government issued the following recommendations in the report:

  • Each agency should develop written eligibility criteria for small-business representatives who advise review panels.
  • The Office of Advocacy should help agencies locate small-business owners and staff to advise the panels.
  • Agencies should consider changes to a rule only when it specifically addresses small businesses.

“[The review process] should not serve as another avenue for big businesses and industry lobbyists to try to weaken critical public health, environmental, worker safety, and consumer finance protections,” Ronald White, director of regulatory policy at the center, said in a press release.