House passes bill to lessen effects of regulations on small businesses

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 2/5/2015

Small businesses won a victory in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 5.

The House passed HR527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015, by a vote of 260-163. The act now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

The act would require federal agencies to analyze the cumulative effects of their rulemakings, guidance and policy statements on small businesses.

If it becomes law, the act would also equip the Small Business Administration with the authority to support, or intervene, on a rulemaking and require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to report on the implementation.

While the act is not specific to trucking, it would affect the actions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by requiring them to ensure that their actions – separately and combined – are not unfairly punishing small businesses and their ability to compete with big business.

OOIDA says the act is important for protecting owner-operators and small fleets and that the vast majority of trucking is made up of small businesses.

OOIDA’s Call to Action ahead of the House vote urged truckers to support the bill, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.

“We would like to thank Rep. Chabot for his leadership on this issue and applaud the House’s passage of this legislation,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said following the vote.

“Good government and sound policy demand that agencies fully understand the impacts of proposed regulations, especially on small businesses,” Spencer said. “However, for far too long, loopholes have allowed regulations to take a shortcut around a true accounting of regulatory costs and benefits.  Trucking, which is dominated by small businesses, is probably the greatest example of why this legislation is needed.”

Approximately 500,000 for-hire motor carriers in the United States are identified as one-truck owner-operator businesses, and 90 percent of all truck fleets in the U.S. are made up of 20 or fewer trucks.

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimates that regulatory agencies issue 3,000 to 4,000 final rules each year. The majority of them come from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Homeland Security, Commerce and the EPA.

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