Business and Trade Association Leaders to Participate in First National Regulatory Fairness Hearing

Mar 07, 2007, 00:00 ET from Office of the National Ombudsman at the U.S. Small Business

    WASHINGTON, March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Office of the National
 Ombudsman at the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a national
 regulatory fairness hearing in Washington D.C. on March 16 from 10 a.m. to
 noon. This event, which will be held at the Environmental Protection
 Agency's (EPA) East Building, will give leaders from business organizations
 and trade associations an opportunity to comment on unfair or excessive
 federal regulatory enforcement that impacts their members and small
 businesses nationwide.
     "This is a great opportunity for these groups to weigh in on the
 challenges their small business members face when trying to comply with
 regulations for their respective industries," said SBA National Ombudsman
 Nicholas Owens.
     "It's even more of a challenge for America's small businesses when the
 enforcement of regulations is excessive, rather than effective and
     The national hearing, Owens said, will also function as an information
 session on how the Office of the National Ombudsman serves as
 "troubleshooter" for the nation's small businesses. "We'd like the
 representatives, on behalf of their association's members, to come away
 with a better understanding of how the national ombudsman is a vital
 resource for America's small business owners," said Owens.
     The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 created
 the Office of the National Ombudsman within the SBA, and established 10
 regional regulatory fairness boards nationwide.
     Each year a series of public regulatory fairness hearings are held
 around the country. These hearings are usually chaired by the National
 Ombudsman and regional board members and attended by officials from various
 federal regulatory agencies. During the hearings, small business owners
 have an opportunity to testify in person, presenting their concerns about
 unfair practices or burdensome policies imposed on them by federal
 agencies, without fear of retaliatory action. Business owners also have the
 option of submitting their comments in writing to the National Ombudsman.
     The upcoming national hearing will follow a similar format. During a
 typical regional hearing, comments from business owners are forwarded to
 the appropriate federal agency for their review. The National Ombudsman
 asks the federal agency to respond within a specified time period. In many
 instances the federal agency has reduced or waived particular penalties
 and/or compliance actions. At a minimum, the Agencies direct a high-level
 review of the enforcement action to ensure fairness. Comments from the
 national hearing will also be included in the National Ombudsman's annual
 report to Congress, which rates federal agencies on responsiveness to small
 business concerns.
     For more information on the national hearing, contact Martin Gold in
 the Office of the National Ombudsman at, or by phone at
 (202) 205-7549. To learn more about the Office of the National Ombudsman,
 visit the Web site at

SOURCE Office of the National Ombudsman at the U.S. Small Business