WASHINGTON-President Clin-ton signed a bill March 29 that offers small businesses some relief from regulatory burdens. The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously March 19, gives small businesses the right to take federal agencies to court for failure to consider a regulation's effect on small business. Such agency review is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980.
It also gives Congress 60 days to review, and possibly disapprove, major new regulations; requires agencies to publish ``plain English'' regulatory compliance guides; mandates agency programs to waive or reduce penalties for small business violations; establishes an ombudsman at the Small Business Administration to hear confidential complaints about agency officials; and gives small businesses the right to seek reimbursement of legal fees from federal agencies under certain circumstances in enforcement actions.
That same day, the House Small Business Committee approved a bill to reduce small businesses' paperwork burdens by allowing them to use electronic technology to maintain, file and disclose federally required records.
Several agencies already make extensive use of electronic data filing and information exchange, witnesses noted at a hearing.