The Federal Trade Commission's General Counsel today testified before a House Committee and presented the agency's assessment of its compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which requires agencies to consider the impact of their rules and proposed rules on small businesses and other small entities. In testimony before the House Small Business Committee, Debra A. Valentine, speaking on behalf of the Commission, stated that the Commission has made regulatory review and reform a high priority and has adopted an aggressive, comprehensive regulatory review program that not only meets but exceeds the requirements of the RFA. "Altogether, one-third of the Commission's rules and guides in the 1992 Code of Federal Regulations have been revoked and another 25 percent revised," the testimony states. Valentine noted that by the end of this fiscal year the Commission anticipates that it will have reviewed more than 80 percent of the rules and guides existing in 1992. Such regulatory revisions are important to companies of all sizes, but are particularly important to small businesses, she said.
According to the testimony, the Commission in 1995 "accelerated its regulatory review process and adopted streamlined procedures" in order to review rules that may have outlived their useful purpose. Valentine pointed out that as a result of the agency's regulatory reform program, the Commission has repealed 13 rules to date (more than 30 percent of those in effect in 1992). In addition, 15 of the Commission's 40 industry guides have been repealed as obsolete and others have been revised or consolidated, Valentine said.
The Commission testimony also outlines how the agency focuses its resources on outreach to small businesses and other industry interests. The Commission's outreach efforts have two goals: to educate small businesses and industry members on how to comply with the laws and regulations enforced by the Commission and to educate them about potential scams that could injure them.
Valentine referred to the Commission's publication of Business Guides, which assist small businesses in understanding their responsibilities and are available on the BusinessLine section of the Commission website at http://www.ftc.gov and on the U.S. Business Advisor website available through the Small Business Administration. These publications, as well as other forms of business guidance, including policy statements, staff advice, and speeches, are publicly available to help the business community comply with the law.
According to the testimony, the FTC "believes that the most effective way to prevent fraud ... is to arm businesses and their employees with knowledge about how these schemes typically operate and of their rights under federal law." The testimony refers to numerous educational pamphlets that are sent to associations, chambers of commerce, and national organizations as well as to the number of public workshops and conferences the FTC has held around the country.
The Commission vote to approve the testimony was 4-0 with Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga not participating.
Copies of the testimony are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-3128; TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. P 859 907)