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H.R. 3310, SMALL BUSINESS PAPERWORK
REDUCTION ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1998

THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 1998

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH,

NATURAL RESOURCES, AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS,
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 p.m., in room 311, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. David McIntosh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives McIntosh, Sessions, Tierney, and Kucinich.

Staff present: Mildred Webber, staff director; Karen Barnes, professional staff member; J. Keith Ausbrook, counsel; Andrew Wilder, clerk; William Moschella, deputy counsel and parliamentarian, full committee; Judy McCoy, chief clerk, full committee; Elizabeth Mundinger, minority counsel; and Ellen Rayner, minority chief clerk.

Mr. SESSIONS (presiding). A quorum being present, I call to order the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs. The purpose of today's hearing is to examine the Government paperwork burden on small businesses, and to consider proposed legislation to help reduce it.

This hearing will provide an opportunity for the subcommittee to hear from members of the small business community and others about their efforts to manage Government paperwork from the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, and to have their input about the value of the proposed legislation.

I am pleased to be joined today by one of my colleagues, the new ranking member of this subcommittee, Mr. Tierney of Massachusetts, and would ask him if he has an opening statement at this time.

[The text of H.R. 3310 follows:]

105TH CONGRESS 2D SESSION

H.R. 3310

To amend chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, for the purpose of facilitating

compliance by small businesses with certain Federal paperwork requirements, and to establish a task force to examine the feasibility of streamlining paperwork requirements applicable to small businesses.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MARCH 3, 1998 Mr. MCINTOSH (for himself, Mr. KUCINICH, Mr. FROST, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. GORDON,

Mr. HAMILTON, Mr. HASTERT, Mr. SCARBOROUGH, Mr. SUNUNU, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. MCHUGH, Mr. Davis of Virginia, Mr. MILLER of Florida, Mr. LIVINGSTON, Mr. DELAY, Mr. ARMEY, Mr. BOEHNER, Mr. THORNBERRY, Mr. BARR of Georgia, Ms.

n, and Mr. SNOWBARGER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, and in addition to the Committee on Small Business, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To amend chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, for the purpose of facilitating

compliance by small businesses with certain Federal paperwork requirements, and to establish a task force to examine the feasibility of streamlining paperwork requirements applicable to small businesses.

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 “Small Business Paperwork Reduction Act Amendments of 1998”. SEC. 2. FACILITATION OF COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS.

(a) ANNUAL PUBLICATION OF PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS.-Section 3504(c) of chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code (commonly referred to as the "Paperwork Reduction Act”), is amended

(1) in paragraph (4), by striking“; and” and inserting a semicolon;
(2) in paragraph (5), by striking the period and inserting “; and”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(6) publish in the Federal Register on an annual basis a list of the requirements applicable to small-business concerns (within the meaning of section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.)) with respect to collection of information by agencies.”.

(b) ESTABLISHMENT OF AGENCY POINT OF CONTACT; SUSPENSION OF FINES FOR FIRST-TIME PAPERWORK VIOLATIONS.-Section 3506 of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(1)(1) In addition to the requirements described in subsection (c), each agency shall, with respect to the collection of information and the control of paperwork

“(A) establish one point of contact in the agency to act as a liaison between the agency and small-business concerns (within the meaning of section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.)); and

“(B) in any case of a first-time violation by a small-business concern of a requirement regarding collection of information by the agency in which the head of the agency determines that the violation has not caused actual serious harm to the public health or safety

“(i) provide that, except as provided in clause (ii), no civil fine shall be imposed by the agency on the small-business concern if the small-business concern corrects the violation on or before the date that is six months after the date of receipt by the small-business concern of notification of the violation in writing from the agency; and

“(ii) if the violation presents an imminent and substantial danger to the public health or safety, provide that, except as provided in paragraph (2), no civil fine shall be imposed by the agency on the small-business concern if the small-business concern corrects the violation during the 24-hour period immediately following receipt by the small-business concern of notifica

tion of the violation in writing from the agency, "(2) In a case described in paragraph (1)(B)(ü), the head of the agency may waive the suspension of imposition of a civil fine provided in that paragraph. The head of the agency shall notify Congress of any such waiver not later than 60 days after the date

that the suspension is waived. “(3) For purposes of paragraph (1)(B), the term 'agency' does not include the Internal Revenue Service.”. SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF TASK FORCE TO STUDY STREAMLINING OF PAPERWORK RE

QUIREMENTS FOR SMALL-BUSINESS CONCERNS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section: "g 3521. Establishment of task force on feasibility of streamlining informa

tion collection requirements “(a) There is hereby established a task force to study the feasibility of streamlining requirements with respect to small-business concerns regarding collection of information (in this section referred to as the task force').

"(b) The members of the task force shall be appointed by the Director, and shall include the following:

“(1) At least two representatives of the Department of Labor, including one representative of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and one representative of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"(2) At least one representative of the Environmental Protection Agency. "(3) At least one representative of the Department of Transportation.

“(4) At least one representative of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

“(5) At least one representative of each of two agencies other than the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, and the Small Business Administration.

"(c) The task force shall examine the feasibility of requiring each agency to consolidate requirements regarding collections of information with respect to smallbusiness concerns, in order that each small-business concern may submit all information required by the agency

"(1) to one point of contact in the agency;

"(2) in a single format, or using a single electronic reporting system, with respect to the agency; and

"(3) on the same date. "(d) Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Small Business Paperwork Reduction Act Amendments of 1998, the task force shall submit a report of its findings under subsection (c) to the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and the Committee on Small Business of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Small Business of the Senate.

"(e) As used in this section, the term 'small-business concern' has the meaning given that term under section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.)."

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

"3521. Establishment of task force on feasibility of streamlining information collection requirements.”. Mr. TIERNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this hearing today. Small and family owned businesses spend a great deal of their resources learning about and complying with applicable laws. I am pleased that we are looking at ways to simplify and streamline the resulting paperwork.

Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that Mr. McIntosh has worked closely with Representative Kucinich in drafting H.R. 3310. This cooperative effort has led to specific improvements in this bill. I also look forward to working with Mr. McIntosh and Mr. Kucinich to further improve the bill. This hearing is an important step in the process. The small business owners and advocates that we will hear from today will help us focus on the most egregious paperwork problems that need to be addressed.

However, the subcommittee also needs to hear from the agencies that are affected by H.R. 3310. This bill has provisions that under some circumstances would prohibit agencies from assessing civil penalties for first time paperwork violations. These provisions could have some unintended negative consequences, and we should take the time to hear what the agencies have to say on the matter.

The agencies can also shed some light on the policies that they already have in place to address first time paperwork violations.

As you may know, 2 years ago, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, also known as SBREFA, was enacted into law. This bill had strong bipartisan support. It passed the House by a vote of 328 to 91.

SBREFA afforded small businesses regulatory relief, including relief from civil penalties. Section 223 of SBREFA requires the agencies to develop policies and programs that would reduce or waive civil penalties for small business violations under appropriate circumstances.

The law specifically allows the agencies to provide relief for good faith violations, violations that are corrected within a reasonable period of time, and violations that do not pose a substantial threat to public health, safety, or the environment. These policies should have been implemented by April of last year.

SBREFA also requires the agencies to report to Congress about their policies. These reports are due at the end of this month. These reports are expected to describe the scope of the policies, the number of enforcement actions that the agency took against small businesses, and the total number of penalty waivers or reductions that the agencies have given.

Perhaps these reports will indicate that the relief provided by SBREFA has been a success, and that there has been no need to legislate again in this area.

Mr. Chairman, I think that it is imperative that we learn about the agency's current policies for first time violations, and learn whether É.R. 3310 could lead to some unintended negative consequences. That is why the minority is requesting that the subcommittee hold a hearing with administration representatives before the subcommittee marks up the bill.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit to you a written request signed by a majority of the minority members for the record, and ask that with unanimous consent it be entered into the record.

And I want to thank you again for holding this hearing, and I look forward to hearing from the witnesses on this important issue.

Mr. SESSIONS. Thank you, Mr. Tierney.

Thank you.

Without objection, this will be entered into the record. And Chairman McIntosh, who will be here shortly, will consider this, and provide you with that response before the ending of today's hearing.

Mr. TIERNEY. Thank you.
[The information referred to follows:)

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