The Center for Effective Government published a report revealing that the interests of small businesses are marginalized in the drafting of federal safety and environmental laws. This process, instead, has been “captured by trade organizations and their large corporate members.”
Federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are legally required to convene a “special small business review panel process,” which determines whether any proposed rule will have a significant impact on small businesses.
However, according to the report, Gaming the Rules: How Big Business Hijacks the Small Business Review Process to Weaken Public Protections, this consultation has not happened much. While review panels have to consult with small business representatives, these representatives at times belong to industry-wide trade associations, including corporate lawyers.
As a result, the small business review panel offers recommendations that cater less to the interests of small business and delay, if not weaken, safety and health regulations. To help redress the situation, the report recommended, among other measures, that there be written eligibility criteria for small business representatives to establish that these representatives are indeed genuine small business owners.
To learn more, read the press release or download a PDF of executive summary.