There are a lot of reasons for that, which I won’t go into right now (although, if you’re interested, feel free to check out my final podcast interview with Tom shortly before he left Advocacy for greener private-sector pastures). But one of the coolest things he left behind him was the r3 initiative.
The Regulatory Review and Reform Initiative (that is, r3) has its roots in Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under that part of the law, regulatory agencies are required to occasionally blow the dust off the regulations on their books and take a look at them, to see whether they might be outdated, ineffective, duplicative or otherwise unnecessary.
That sounds a lot simpler than it is. There are hundreds of thousands of regulations on the books; just deciding where to start must be fairly overwhelming. Sullivan’s idea was to harness the experiences of small business owners who need to deal with those regulations by asking them to nominate federal regulations they believe are in need of reform.
Advocacy launched the r3 initiative in early 2007 and, by the end of the year, had received almost 90 nominations from small business owners. Possibly some doubters would have expected small business owners to line up and suggest that all federal regulations should be got rid of and, further, that the government should just leave them alone.
But the small business community did Tom Sullivan proud. The nominations were, he told me, thoughtful and reasonable and always mindful of the original purpose of the regulation in question. In some cases, the proposed reforms simply reduced administrative inefficiency. In others, small business owners used the opportunity to bring federal regulators up to date with industry standards that were leap years ahead of the regulatory requirements.
From those nominations, a “Top 10″ were selected and submitted to the relevant agencies as candidates for review and reform. Among those original ten regulations, seven have received some form of agency review and/or reform proposal and one was the subject of a legislative proposal to get the job done.
Not too shabby, huh?
(You can get more information on the status of the Top 10 Rules, 2008, by visiting here.)
So, why do I bring all this up? Well, Advocacy is accepting nominations from small business owners for another round of review candidates, to be reduced to their Top 10 Rules for 2009. So, if your small business is or has been subject to a particularly absurd, outmoded or pointless set of federal regulations, now is the time to make your voice heard.
Before you submit your candidate for regulatory reform, be sure to review Advocacy’s nominating guidelines to ensure that you provide all the information they need to evaluate your submission.
Thanks the the SBA Office of Advocacy, small business owners have an opportunity to do more than complain about those pesky regulations that give us all the hives. But whatever you do, do it now. The deadline for r3 nominations is December 31, 2008.
About the Author: Dawn Rivers Baker, an award-winning small business journalist, regularly reports and analyzes small business policy and research as the editor and publisher of The MicroEnterprise Journal. She also blogs at The Journal Blog.
Dawn is a member of the Small Business Trends Expert Network.