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S. 2045 (104th): National Small Business Regulatory Relief Act of 1996

The text of the bill below is as of Aug 2, 1996 (Introduced).


S 2045 IS

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2045

To provide regulatory relief for small business concerns, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

August 2, 1996

Mr. HATFIELD introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Small Business


A BILL

To provide regulatory relief for small business concerns, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘National Small Business Regulatory Relief Act of 1996’.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to establish a system of confidential voluntary compliance with Federal regulations that will--

      (1) provide a low cost process to significantly improve compliance by small business concerns with Federal regulations;

      (2) improve the level of outreach to the small business community and reduce duplication of effort among Federal agencies;

      (3) be funded without additional appropriations;

      (4) use the existing federally supported national small business development center service delivery network;

      (5) provide a mechanism for feedback on the small business regulatory environment; and

      (6) stimulate the development of partnerships between nonpunitive assistance programs and the small business development center network in order to improve access to and utilization of these programs by the small business community.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM.

    The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637 et seq.) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating section 31 as section 32; and

      (2) by inserting after section 30 the following new section:

‘SEC. 31. SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY RELIEF.

    ‘(a) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this section--

      ‘(1) the term ‘Chairperson’ means the Chairperson of the Council;

      ‘(2) the term ‘Council’ means the Small Business Regulatory Relief Council established under subsection (b);

      ‘(3) the term ‘participating agency’ means--

        ‘(A) the Environmental Protection Agency;

        ‘(B) the Internal Revenue Service of the Department of the Treasury; and

        ‘(C) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor;

      ‘(4) the term ‘small business development center’ means a small business development center established pursuant to section 21; and

      ‘(5) the term ‘system of voluntary compliance’ means a system under which small business development centers or consortia of small business development centers provide confidential assistance to small business concerns in meeting regulatory requirements imposed on small business concerns by any participating agency.

    ‘(b) SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY RELIEF COUNCIL-

      ‘(1) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of the National Small Business Regulatory Relief Act of 1996, the Administrator shall establish a Small Business Regulatory Relief Council in accordance with this subsection.

      ‘(2) MEMBERSHIP- The Council shall be composed of 13 members, of whom--

        ‘(A) 1 shall be the Associate Administrator for the Office of Small Business Development Centers of the Administration;

        ‘(B) 1 shall be appointed by the head of each participating agency from among the senior level employees of that participating agency;

        ‘(C) 4 shall be appointed by an association representing the majority of the small business development centers from among representatives of small business development centers;

        ‘(D) 1 shall be a representative of the National Small Business Development Center Advisory Council of the Administration; and

        ‘(E) 4 shall be appointed by the Administrator from among small business owners nominated by national organizations representing small business concerns.

      ‘(3) CHAIRPERSON- One member of the Council shall be elected by the Council to serve as the Chairperson of the Council for a term of 1 year.

      ‘(4) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT; VACANCIES-

        ‘(A) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT- Each member of the Council shall be appointed for a term of 1 year. No member of the Council may serve more than 3 consecutive terms.

        ‘(B) VACANCIES- Any vacancy in the Council shall not affect the powers of the Council, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

      ‘(5) MEETINGS- The Council shall meet at the call of the Chairperson, but not less often than quarterly.

      ‘(6) POWERS OF THE COUNCIL-

        ‘(A) HEARINGS- The Council may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Council considers necessary to carry out this section.

        ‘(B) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES- The Council may secure directly from any Federal department or agency, such information as the Council considers necessary to carry out this section. Upon request of the Chairperson, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information to the Council.

        ‘(C) POSTAL SERVICES- The Council may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

        ‘(D) GIFTS- The Council may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.

      ‘(7) COUNCIL PERSONNEL MATTERS-

        ‘(A) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS-

          ‘(i) IN GENERAL- Each member of the Council who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government or of a small business development center shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time), during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Council.

          ‘(ii) EMPLOYEES OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT- All members of the Council who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States.

        ‘(B) TRAVEL EXPENSES- The members of the Council shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Council.

        ‘(C) STAFF-

          ‘(i) IN GENERAL- The Chairperson may, without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Council to perform its duties. The employment of an executive director

shall be subject to confirmation by the Council.

          ‘(ii) COMPENSATION- The Chairperson may fix the compensation of the executive director and other personnel without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

        ‘(D) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES- Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Council without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

        ‘(E) PROCUREMENT OF TEMPORARY AND INTERMITTENT SERVICES- The Chairperson may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

        ‘(F) FEDERAL PROCUREMENT- The Council may contract in its own name, including contracting for administrative services and for meeting such national delivery support requirements as it determines necessary and appropriate, under procedures to be determined by the Council, without regard to the provisions of title III of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, or any other law, rule or regulation governing Federal procurement.

        ‘(G) ACCESS TO FEDERAL FACILITIES- The Council shall have access to any Federal facilities as the Chairperson, in consultation with the General Services Administration or any other agency as appropriate, determines appropriate, to carry out its functions.

    ‘(c) DUTIES OF PARTICIPATING AGENCIES-

      ‘(1) SUBMISSION OF PLAN- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the National Small Business Regulatory Relief Act of 1996, each participating agency shall submit to the Council a 5-year plan for the establishment and maintenance of a system of voluntary compliance in accordance with this Act.

      ‘(2) CONTENTS OF PLAN- Each plan submitted under paragraph (1) shall include--

        ‘(A) the regulatory compliance objectives of the participating agency;

        ‘(B) the regulatory compliance priorities of the participating agency;

        ‘(C) identification of the types of programs, services, materials, and resources to be developed and deployed by the participating agency;

        ‘(D) participating agency facilities, expertise, and other resources that may be accessed by the Chairperson, a small business development center, or a small business concern participating in the system of voluntary compliance established under this Act; and

        ‘(E) performance outcome measures and evaluation criteria to be used by the participating agency in evaluating the effectiveness of the system of voluntary compliance established under this Act.

      ‘(3) DUPLICATION OF EFFORT- In carrying out this subsection, each participating agency shall,

to the maximum extent practicable, ensure that participating agencies are not carrying out duplicative efforts.

    ‘(d) DUTIES OF COUNCIL-

      ‘(1) REVIEW OF PARTICIPATING AGENCY PLAN- Not later than 30 days after the date on which a participating agency plan is submitted to the Council under subsection (c)(1), the Council shall either--

        ‘(A) approve the plan; or

        ‘(B) make such modifications to the plan as the Council determines to be necessary to carry out the purpose of the National Small Business Regulatory Relief Act of 1996.

      ‘(2) ESTABLISHMENT OF GUIDELINES-

        ‘(A) IN GENERAL- Based on each plan approved or modified under paragraph (2), not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the National Small Business Regulatory Relief Act of 1996, the Council shall--

          ‘(i) develop a program for the implementation of each participating agency plan;

          ‘(ii) publish guidelines for the establishment by small business development centers or consortia of small business development centers of a system of voluntary compliance in accordance with this section;

          ‘(iii) send a written copy of those guidelines to each small business development center; and

          ‘(iv) identify national service delivery support requirements including personnel training, resource material development, communication technology, monitoring, and program evaluation.

        ‘(B) GUIDELINE REQUIREMENTS- The guidelines published under subparagraph (A) shall--

          ‘(i) establish priorities for the types of assistance to be provided to small business concerns under the systems of voluntary compliance established by small business development centers or consortia under this section; and

          ‘(ii) with respect to that assistance, establish standards relating to educational, technical, and communications tools, resources, and support services to be provided to small business concerns.

        ‘(C) PROGRAM DELIVERY- The guidelines established under subparagraph (A) shall--

          ‘(i) require that the assistance to small business concerns under this Act be carried out by small business development centers or by consortia of small business development centers; and

          ‘(ii) provide that certain national service delivery support requirements may be carried out under contract with an association representing the majority of small business development centers.

        ‘(D) ENFORCEMENT OF GUIDELINES- For purposes of this paragraph, the provision of small business development center assistance shall not be considered to be an enforcement action for any Federal agency.

      ‘(3) ANNUAL REPORT- The Council shall, on an annual basis, submit to the President and to the Committees on Small Business of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report, which shall include--

        ‘(A) a description of the types of assistance provided by small business development centers and consortia of small business development centers to small business concerns under this section;

        ‘(B) the level of outreach to small business concerns achieved by small business development centers and consortia of small business development centers under this section;

        ‘(C) the quality and effectiveness of the assistance provided by small business development centers and consortia of small business development centers to small business concerns under this section;

        ‘(D) problems encountered by small business development centers and consortia of small business development centers in carrying out this section; and

        ‘(E) recommendations for improvements in the regulation of small business concerns.

    ‘(e) DUTIES OF SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS-

      ‘(1) WORK PLAN- Beginning not later than 60 days after the date on which the guidelines are published by the Council under subsection (d)(2)(A), each small business development center shall, on an annual basis, submit to the Council a work plan under which the small business development center,

either individually or as part of a consortium of small business development centers, will carry out a system of voluntary compliance in accordance with those guidelines.

      ‘(2) ASSISTANCE PROVIDED- The assistance to small business concerns under each system of voluntary compliance established under paragraph (1) shall include--

        ‘(A) access to information and resources;

        ‘(B) training and educational activities;

        ‘(C) confidential one-on-one in-depth counseling;

        ‘(D) technical assistance; and

        ‘(E) referrals to experts.

      ‘(3) REPORTS; RECOMMENDATIONS- Each small business development center and consortium of small business development centers shall--

        ‘(A) on a semiannual basis, submit to the Council and to the Administrator a report on the assistance provided by the small business development center or consortium under the system of voluntary compliance established under this section; and

        ‘(B) on an annual basis, submit to the Council and to the Administrator recommendations for improving the regulation of small business concerns.

      ‘(4) DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION- Nothing in this or any other section shall require a small business development center, any consortium of small business development centers, or any person relied on by any such small business development center to provide services, to disclose the name or address of any small business concern participating in a system of voluntary compliance under this section.

    ‘(f) EVALUATIONS-

      ‘(1) BY THE COUNCIL-

        ‘(A) IN GENERAL- Not less frequently than annually, the Council shall evaluate each system of voluntary compliance established under subsection (e)(1).

        ‘(B) COMPLIANCE WITH WORK PLANS- In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Council--

          ‘(i) shall determine whether--

            ‘(I) the participating small business development center or consortium is performing in accordance with the most recent annual work plan submitted by the small business development center or consortium under subsection (e)(1); and

            ‘(II) the quality of assistance provided by the small business development center or consortium to small business concerns under this section is acceptable; and

          ‘(ii) may review any client records maintained by the small business development center or consortium, except that in conducting any such review, the Council shall ensure that the identity of clients and all information relating to clients remains confidential, and that no identifying information about any client is provided to any Federal agency.

      ‘(2) INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ASSESSMENT- Upon the expiration of the 3-year period beginning on the date on which all small business development centers and consortia of small business development centers begin implementation of the work plans described under subsection (e)(1), the Council shall provide for an evaluation by an independent third

party of each system of voluntary compliance established under this section.

    ‘(g) FUNDING- To assist small business development centers and consortia of small business development centers in carrying out the system of voluntary compliance under this section, there are authorized to be appropriated--

      ‘(1) to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor, $1,100,000 for each of fiscal years 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001;

      ‘(2) to the Environmental Protection Agency--

        ‘(A) $11,750,000 for fiscal year 1997;

        ‘(B) $13,700,000 for fiscal year 1998;

        ‘(C) $16,400,000 for fiscal year 1999;

        ‘(D) $19,700,000 for fiscal year 2000; and

        ‘(E) $19,700,000 for fiscal year 2001; and

      ‘(3) to the Internal Revenue Service of the Department of the Treasury--

        ‘(A) $18,250,000 for fiscal year 1997;

        ‘(B) $22,800,000 for fiscal year 1998;

        ‘(C) $28,500,000 for fiscal year 1999;

        ‘(D) $35,600,000 for fiscal year 2000; and

        ‘(E) $35,600,000 for fiscal year 2001.’.