Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 4946 (rh) To amend the Small Business Act to direct the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to establish a pilot program to provide regulatory compliance assistance to small business concerns, and for other purposes. [Reported in House...

H.R. 4946 (rh) To amend the Small Business Act to direct the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to establish a pilot program to provide regulatory compliance assistance to small business concerns, and for other purposes. [Reported in House...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4946


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

           September 27 (legislative day, September 22), 2000

  Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Small Business

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  To amend the Small Business Act to direct the Administrator of the 
 Small Business Administration to establish a pilot program to provide 
 regulatory compliance assistance to 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 
Assistance Act of 2000''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to establish a pilot program to--
            (1) provide confidential assistance to small business 
        concerns;
            (2) provide small business concerns with the information 
        necessary to improve their rate of compliance with Federal 
        regulations;
            (3) create a partnership among Federal agencies to increase 
        outreach efforts to small business concerns with respect to 
        regulatory compliance;
            (4) provide a mechanism for unbiased feedback to Federal 
        agencies on the regulatory environment for small business 
        concerns; and
            (5) utilize the service delivery network of Small Business 
        Development Centers to improve access of small business 
        concerns to programs to assist them with regulatory compliance.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act, the definitions set forth in section 34(a) of the 
Small Business Act (as added by section 4 of this Act) shall apply.

SEC. 4. SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY ASSISTANCE PILOT PROGRAM.

    The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637 et seq.) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating section 34 as section 35; and
            (2) by inserting after section 33 the following new 
        section:

``SEC. 34. SMALL BUSINESS REGULATORY ASSISTANCE PILOT PROGRAM.

    ``(a) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions 
apply:
            ``(1) Administrator.--The term `Administrator' means the 
        Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
            ``(2) Association.--The term `Association' means the 
        association, established pursuant to section 21(a)(3)(A), 
        representing a majority of Small Business Development Centers.
            ``(3) Participating small business development center.--The 
        term `participating Small Business Development Center' means a 
        Small Business Development Center participating in the pilot 
        program.
            ``(4) Pilot program.--The term `pilot program' means the 
        pilot program established under this section.
            ``(5) Regulatory compliance assistance.--The term 
        `regulatory compliance assistance' means assistance provided by 
        a Small Business Development Center to a small business concern 
        to enable the concern to comply with Federal regulatory 
        requirements.
            ``(6) Small business development center.--The term `Small 
        Business Development Center' means a Small Business Development 
        Center described in section 21.
            ``(7) State.--The term `State' means each of the several 
        States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
        Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
    ``(b) Authority.--In accordance with this section, the 
Administrator shall establish a pilot program to provide regulatory 
compliance assistance to small business concerns through participating 
Small Business Development Centers, the Association, and Federal 
compliance partnership programs.
    ``(c) Small Business Development Centers.--
            ``(1) In general.--In carrying out the pilot program, the 
        Administrator shall enter into arrangements with participating 
        Small Business Development Centers under which such centers 
        will provide--
                    ``(A) access to information and resources, 
                including current Federal and State nonpunitive 
                compliance and technical assistance programs similar to 
                those established under section 507 of the Clean Air 
                Act Amendments of 1990;
                    ``(B) training and educational activities;
                    ``(C) confidential, free-of-charge, one-on-one, in-
                depth counseling to the owners and operators of small 
                business concerns regarding compliance with Federal 
                regulations, provided that such counseling is not 
                considered to be the practice of law in a State in 
                which a Small Business Development Center is located or 
                in which such counseling is conducted;
                    ``(D) technical assistance; and
                    ``(E) referrals to experts and other providers of 
                compliance assistance.
            ``(2) Reports.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Each participating Small 
                Business Development Center shall transmit to the 
                Administrator a quarterly report that includes--
                            ``(i) a summary of the regulatory 
                        compliance assistance provided by the center 
                        under the pilot program; and
                            ``(ii) any data and information obtained by 
                        the center from a Federal agency regarding 
                        regulatory compliance that the agency intends 
                        to be disseminated to small business concerns.
                    ``(B) Electronic form.--Each report referred to in 
                subparagraph (A) shall be transmitted in electronic 
                form.
                    ``(C) Interim reports.--During any time period 
                falling between the transmittal of quarterly reports, a 
                participating Small Business Development Center may 
                transmit to the Administrator any interim report 
                containing data or information considered by the center 
                to be necessary or useful.
                    ``(D) Limitation on disclosure requirements.--The 
                Administrator may not require a Small Business 
                Development Center to disclose the name or address of 
                any small business concern that received or is 
                receiving assistance under the pilot program, except 
                that the Administrator shall require such a disclosure 
                if ordered to do so by a court in any civil or criminal 
                enforcement action commenced by a Federal or State 
                agency.
    ``(d) Data repository and clearinghouse.--
            ``(1) In general.--In carrying out the pilot program, the 
        Administrator, acting through the office of the Associate 
        Administrator for Small Business Development Centers, shall--
                    ``(A) act as the repository of and clearinghouse 
                for data and information submitted by Small Business 
                Development Centers; and
                    ``(B) transmit to the President and to the 
                Committees on Small Business of the Senate and House of 
                Representatives an annual report that includes--
                            ``(i) a description of the types of 
                        assistance provided by participating Small 
                        Business Development Centers under the pilot 
                        program;
                            ``(ii) data regarding the number of small 
                        business concerns that contacted participating 
                        Small Business Development Centers regarding 
                        assistance under the pilot program;
                            ``(iii) data regarding the number of small 
                        business concerns assisted by participating 
                        Small Business Development Centers under the 
                        pilot program;
                            ``(iv) data and information regarding 
                        outreach activities conducted by participating 
                        Small Business Development Centers under the 
                        pilot program, including any activities 
                        conducted in partnership with Federal agencies;
                            ``(v) data and information regarding each 
                        case known to the Administrator in which one or 
                        more Small Business Development Centers offered 
                        conflicting advice or information regarding 
                        compliance with a Federal regulation to one or 
                        more small business concerns; and
                            ``(vi) any recommendations for improvements 
                        in the regulation of small business concerns.
    ``(e) Eligibility.--
            ``(1) In general.--A Small Business Development Center 
        shall be eligible to receive assistance under the pilot program 
        only if the center is certified under section 21(k)(2).
            ``(2) Waiver.--With respect to a Small Business Development 
        Center seeking assistance under the pilot program, the 
        Administrator may waive the certification requirement set forth 
        in paragraph (1) if the Administrator determines that the 
        center is making a good faith effort to obtain such 
        certification.
            ``(3) Effective date.--This subsection shall take effect on 
        October 1, 2000.
    ``(f) Selection of Participating Centers.--
            ``(1) In general.--In consultation with the Association and 
        giving substantial weight to the Association's recommendations, 
        the Administrator shall select two Small Business Development 
        Centers from each of the following groups of States to 
        participate in the pilot program, except that the Administrator 
        may not select two Small Business Development Centers from the 
        same State:
                    ``(A) Group 1: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, 
                Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
                    ``(B) Group 2: New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, 
                and the Virgin Islands.
                    ``(C) Group 3: Pennsylvania, Maryland, West 
                Virginia, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and 
                Delaware.
                    ``(D) Group 4: Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, 
                South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, and 
                Tennessee.
                    ``(E) Group 5: Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, 
                Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
                    ``(F) Group 6: Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, 
                Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
                    ``(G) Group 7: Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and 
                Kansas.
                    ``(H) Group 8: Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, 
                South Dakota, Montana, and Utah.
                    ``(I) Group 9: California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, 
                and Arizona.
                    ``(J) Group 10: Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and 
                Oregon.
            ``(2) Deadline for selection.--The Administrator shall make 
        selections under this subsection not later than 60 days after 
        promulgation of regulations under section 4.
    ``(g) Matching Not Required.--Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 
21(a)(4) shall not apply to assistance made available under the pilot 
program.
    ``(h) Evaluation and Report.--Not later than 3 years after the 
establishment of the pilot program, the Comptroller General of the 
United States shall conduct an evaluation of the pilot program and 
shall transmit to the Administrator and to the Committees on Small 
Business of the Senate and House of Representatives a report containing 
the results of the evaluation along with any recommendations as to 
whether the pilot program, without or without modification, should be 
extended to include the participation of all Small Business Development 
Centers.
    ``(i) Limitation on Use of Funds.--The Administrator may carry out 
the pilot program only with amounts appropriated in advance 
specifically to carry out this section.''.

SEC. 5. PROMULGATION OF REGULATIONS.

    After providing notice and an opportunity for comment and after 
consulting with the Association (but not later than 180 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act), the Administrator shall promulgate 
final regulations to carry out this Act, including regulations that 
establish--
            (1) priorities for the types of assistance to be provided 
        under the pilot program;
            (2) standards relating to educational, technical, and 
        support services to be provided by participating Small Business 
        Development Centers;
            (3) standards relating to any national service delivery and 
        support function to be provided by the Association under the 
        pilot program; and
            (4) standards relating to any work plan that the 
        Administrator may require a participating Small Business 
        Development Center to develop.

            Passed the House of Representatives September 26, 2000.

            Attest:

                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,

                                                                 Clerk.

Pages: 1

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