[Senate Report 107-308]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                       Calendar No. 696
107th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     107-308




                October 9, 2002.--Ordered to be printed


 Mr. Kerry, from the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                         [To accompany S. 2483]

    On July 24, 2002, the Committee on Small Business and 
Entrepreneurship considered S.2483, the ``National Small 
Business Regulatory Assistance Act of 2002.'' S. 2483 would 
establish a four-year pilot program to provide resources to 
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) so they may provide 
free-of-charge, non-punitive Federal regulatory compliance 
assistance to small business owners. The legislation also 
establishes statutory privacy protections for small businesses 
that use SBDC counseling services. Having considered S. 2483, 
the Committee reports favorably thereon without further 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                            I. INTRODUCTION

    The intention of S. 2483 the ``National Small Business 
Regulatory Assistance Act of 2002,'' is to utilize existing 
United States Small Business Administration (SBA) 
infrastructure to provide regulatory compliance assistance to 
small businesses. The SBA oversees the operations of Small 
Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Located in every state, 
these centers are associated with colleges and universities and 
provide operational assistance to small business owners. They 
are authorized to provide regulatory compliance assistance, but 
they do not have an organized program for providing such 
assistance and lack the resources to do so. S. 2483 would 
establish a pilot project for selected State SBDC programs to 
develop regulatory compliance assistance programs. The bill 
mandates that the Administrator of the SBA establish a pilot 
project in which 20 State SBDC programs will be selected to 
test whether the centers within those State programs would be 
an appropriate vehicle for providing regulatory compliance 
assistance to small business owners.
    During the past 20 years, the Federal Register--the 
compendium of Federal regulatory initiatives and changes--
almost doubled in size from 42,000 pages to a record 83,289 
pages in 2000. This growth of Federal regulations is of concern 
to many small businesses that often find it difficult to meet 
these regulatory requirements while at the same time trying to 
successfully operate their businesses in an expanding and 
competitive global environment.
    Federal regulations exist to achieve statutory objectives; 
noncompliance hinders the achievement of these statutory goals. 
Small business owners want to comply with Federal regulations 
but often lack the knowledge of how to do so correctly. In 
1996, Congress took action in an effort to alleviate this 
problem. The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
provided that Federal agencies are required to produce plain-
English compliance guides for any regulation that would have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
businesses. Unfortunately, many small business owners do not 
know about the existence of such compliance guides and may be 
reluctant to meet with a regulatory agency to learn how to 
comply with Federal regulations.
    The SBA oversees a number of mechanisms for delivering 
advice to small business owners. One of the most effective is 
the SBDC program. Operated in conjunction with colleges and 
universities, the SBDC program assists small businesses in 
solving problems concerning the operations, manufacturing, 
engineering, technology, exchange and development, personnel 
administration, marketing, sales, merchandising, finance, 
accounting, and business strategy development. The SBDCs 
utilize the resources and the expertise of colleges and 
universities. In addition, the SBDCs, like the Agricultural 
Extension Service, also provide a focal point for information 
retrieval, coordination of Federal and State government 
services, and referral to experts. Historically, the SBDCs have 
focused on financial, management, and marketing activities of 
small businesses despite the requirement that they also provide 
regulatory compliance assistance.
    The Committee believes that SBDCs can provide an effective 
mechanism for dispensing regulatory compliance information and 
advice, especially to those small businesses who may not wish 
to seek advice from a Federal regulatory agency. However, 
regulatory compliance, unlike many of the other activities 
undertaken by the SBDCs, has significant legal consequences. 
Therefore, the Committee believes that a pilot program to 
examine how the regulatory compliance assistance will operate 
in selected small business development centers is a preferred 
strategy to simply providing an authorization of additional 
funding so that the whole network of SBDCs can provide 
regulatory compliance assistance.

                        II. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

H.R. 203, the ``National Small Business Regulatory Assistance Act of 

    H.R. 203, the ``National Small Business Regulatory 
Assistance Act of 2000,'' was introduced by Representative John 
E. Sweeney on January 3, 2001. Representatives Juanita 
Millender-McDonald and Bill Pascrell, Jr. are cosponsors.
    The House Committee on Small Business held a field hearing 
to consider predecessor versions of H.R. 203. The hearing was 
held on September 2, 1999, at the Columbia Greene Community 
College in Hudson, NY. During that hearing, small businesses 
expressed concerns about the complexity of Federal regulations, 
their desire for better understanding of Federal regulatory 
requirements, and the need for easy access to compliance 
assistance. The Committee's Subcommittee on Workforce, 
Empowerment, and Government Programs held a hearing on H.R. 203 
on July 19, 2001. At the hearing, the sponsor of the bill, Mr. 
Sweeney, noted that he continues to hear from small business 
owners that they still are being overwhelmed with regulation 
and need compliance assistance. The Association of Small 
Business Development Centers also voiced support for the bill. 
Finally, the American Industrial Hygiene Associationalso 
endorsed the bill but suggested that amendments should be made to 
ensure that regulatory compliance assistance is provided by properly 
credentialed individuals.
    On September 21, 2001, the House Committee considered H.R. 
203 and passed it by unanimous voice vote with an amendment. 
The full House considered H.R. 203 under suspension of the 
rules on October 2, 2001. H.R. 203 subsequently passed by voice 

S. 2483, the ``National Small Business Regulatory Assistance Act of 

    S. 2483, the ``National Small Business Regulatory 
Assistance Act of 2002,'' was introduced by Senators Max 
Cleland, John F. Kerry, Mary L. Landrieu, James M. Jeffords, 
Tom Harkin, Jeff Bingaman, Jean Carnahan, Patrick J. Leahy, 
Joseph I. Lieberman and Tim Johnson on May 8, 2002. Additional 
cosponsors include Senators Zell Miller, Debbie Stabenow and 
Maria Cantwell.
    On April 24, 2001, the Senate Committee on Small Business 
and Entrepreneurship held a hearing titled ``Protecting Small 
Business Rights: SBREFA on its 5th Anniversary,'' which 
discussed, among other topics, the need to help small 
businesses comply with Federal regulations.
    During consideration of S. 2483, on July 24, 2002, the 
Senate Committee's Ranking Member, Senator Christopher S. Bond, 
raised concerns that the Senate Committee had not adequately 
considered the National Small Business Regulatory Assistance 
Act. In response to these concerns, the Committee Chairman, 
Senator John F. Kerry, proposed holding a roundtable on the 
legislation to alleviate these concerns shortly after moving 
forward with the Committee vote. The Ranking Republican agreed 
and the legislation was passed, without amendment, by the 
Senate Committee with an 18-1 vote.
    On August 1, 2002, the Senate Committee held a roundtable 
titled ``Promoting Small Business Regulatory Compliance and 
Entrepreneurial Education--the Role of the SBDC Network.'' 
During this roundtable, the Senate Committee received evidence 
that S. 2483 would provide adequate resources to Small Business 
Development Centers (SBDC) so that they may provide free-of-
charge, non-punitive regulatory compliance assistance to small 
business owners. Small business representatives at the 
roundtable also stressed the need to provide such assistance in 
a confidential manner and stressed that many small businesses 
would prefer to receive compliance assistance from their SBDC, 
as opposed to a Federal regulatory agency. Furthermore, the 
Senate Committee received information that despite the best 
efforts of Federal compliance assistance programs, they often 
fall short in their efforts to assist small businesses and 
these programs are often not designed with small businesses in 
    Small business groups such as the National Small Business 
United and the National Association for the Self Employed 
support S. 2483. Representative Sweeney, the sponsor of the 
House version also submitted a letter to Chairman Kerry in 
support of the Senate version of the legislation. Additionally, 
regulatory compliance groups, such as the Clean Air Resource 
Center, support the legislation.

                        ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2002''


    To establish a four-year pilot program, the purpose of 
which is to provide resources to Small Business Development 
Centers (SBDCs) so they may provide free-of-charge, non-
punitive regulatory compliance assistance to small business 
owners. The legislation also establishes statutory privacy 
protections for small businesses that use SBDC counseling 

Pilot program

    The legislation requires the Small Business Administration 
(SBA) to provide grants to the SBDC programs of two states in 
each of the SBA's 10 regions. The grants shall be more than 
$150,000, but less than $300,000 and shall be made without a 
matching requirement.
    The Committee believes that grant amounts should be 
relative to a state's population and the anticipated need of 
the assistance in that state.

Grant purpose

    SBDCs are required to use the grants to provide access to 
information and resources, including current Federal and State 
non-punitive compliance and technical assistance programs; 
conduct training and educational activities; and, offer 
confidential, free-of-charge, one-on-one, in-depth counseling 
to the owners and operators of small business concerns 
regarding compliance with Federal and State regulations derived 
from Federal law.
    SBDCs participating in the program are statutorily required 
to form partnerships with Federal compliance assistance 
programs and provide access to information and resources on 
complying with Federal regulations, including current Federal 
and State non-punitive compliance assistance programs. Numerous 
Federal and State agencies have non-punitive compliance 
assistance programs, such as the federal Occupational Safety 
and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Committee expects 
that the participating SBDCs will maintain all necessary 
information with those Federal and State agencies in developing 
their programs. Furthermore, the Committee expects that the 
quality of coordination of these assistance resources will be a 
significant factor in selecting the SBDCs for the pilot 
    The Committee also expects that selected centers will 
utilize their contacts with Federal and State agencies to 
obtain compliance pamphlets, videos, books, and any compliance 
guides issued pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act. In addition, the Committee expects 
that participating centers will hold lectures and seminars on 
regulatory compliance including updates on compliance based on 
regulatory changes.

SBDC reporting requirement

    Each SBDC participating in the pilot program would be 
required to submit a quarterly report that includes a summary 
of the regulatory compliance assistance provided by the center 
under the pilot program; the number of small business concerns 
assisted under the pilot program; and for every fourth report, 
any regulatory compliance information based on Federal law that 
a Federal or State agency has provided to the center during the 
preceding year and requested that it be disseminated to small 
business concerns.

SBA requirements

    The SBA would have responsibility for evaluating the pilot 
program and making recommendations on the extension of the 
program to other SBDCs. The SBA must also promulgate final 
regulations to carry out the pilot program within 180 days of 
    The Committee expects that such regulations shall be 
promulgated after the public has been given an opportunity for 
notice and comment. The Committee believes that the 
Administrator can and should accomplish the issuance of 
regulations within the deadline set by statute. The Committee 
considers this Act to be ``some other law'' for purposes of 
section 603 of Title 5 of the United States Code. The 
regulations shall include the priorities for the type of 
assistance to be provided, standards relating to the 
educational, technical, and support services to be provided by 
the Association to the participating centers, and standards for 
work plans that the participating centers will provide to the 
Administrator. The Committee believes that given the potential 
interest in the program by SBDCs, it is appropriate for the 
Administrator to have a set of standards to determine which 
State programs shall be chosen. More importantly, the standards 
will provide an appropriate baseline for the Comptroller 
General's evaluation of the pilot project.
    Regarding the requirement that the Administrator develop 
appropriate standards for ensuring the technical qualifications 
of experts to whom small businesses will be referred, the 
Committee does not intend that someone must have a college or 
advance degree to qualify. For example, a contractor licensed 
in a state with 20 years experience (who is a high school 
graduate) may be as well-equipped to provide advice on 
compliance with OSHA construction standards as a professor of 
civil engineering. On the other hand, that same contractor 
might not be an appropriate individual to provide tax 
compliance advice. The Committee does not expect that this 
aspect of the Administrator's regulations shall be all 
encompassing, i.e., delineate every profession and the 
appropriate qualifications. However, the Committee does expect 
the Administrator to recognize, as qualified, those individuals 
that are certified by nationally recognized accrediting bodies 
(whose members must demonstrate substantial educational and 
practical experience), meet educational and work standards 
established by a Federal agency, or are licensed to practice a 
particular profession or job pursuant to State law. The 
Committee expects that the regulations will provide 
participating centers with enough information that the centers 
can determine whether the person providing the advice is 
competent in the field of regulation.

Privacy provisions

    The legislation contains a provision that prohibits SBDCs 
from disclosing the name, street address or phone number of a 
client. Exemptions are made for court orders and audits. SBDC 
program activity data would still be available to the SBA under 
this provision for evaluation purposes.
    The Committee has been contacted on a number of occasions 
by SBDCs that employees of the SBA have attempted to obtain the 
names and addresses of businesses that sought the services of 
the SBDCs. The Committee is greatly troubled by these 
statements and believes that any attempts by the Administrator 
or the employees of the SBA to obtain the names and addresses 
of persons seeking SBDC assistance is inappropriate because it 
would act as a disincentive for small businesses to utilize the 
    S. 2483 provides for two exceptions to the privacy 
requirements: (1) if the Administrator is ordered by a court in 
any civil or criminal action initiated by Federal or State 
agency; or (2) the Administrator requires the information while 
undertaking a financial audit of the SBDC. To ensure that the 
Administrator does not unduly abuse the second exception for 
disclosure, the legislation requires the Administrator to 
promulgate regulations specifying when such disclosures in an 
audit shall be made. Access by the Administration to program 
activity data for administrative purposes is not restricted.
    The Committee expects the regulations to strictly limit 
disclosure during the audit process and severely circumscribe 
those individuals who will have access to the audit information 
during the audit. The Committee recognizes that the information 
collected during the audit may have to be retained for a 
variety of purposes, such as management reviews by the 
Inspector General or congressional oversight. The Committee 
expects the Administrator's regulations to cover who, if 
anyone, shall have access to the raw data, including the names 
and addresses of the SBDC's users, after the audit is complete. 
The Committee does not intend information obtained during the 
audit concerning identifiable individuals or businesses and 
retained by the Administrator to be released pursuant to the 
Freedom of Information Act.
    The Committee is concerned that SBDCs have been asked by 
SBA personnel to reveal, for functions unrelated to the 
financial and programmatic auditing of SBDCs, the names of 
businesses that seek advice from SBDCs. The Committee believes 
that such requests by SBA personnel are inappropriate. The 
committee expects that participating SBDCs will only respond to 
formal agency requests such as civil investigative demands, 
subpoenas, requests from Administrator's Associate 
Administrator for SBDCs when performing a financial audit of 
the SBDC, or requests from the Inspector General of the SBA 
.The Committee expects the SBDCs will not provide information 
concerning the identity of businesses simply upon the verbal 
request of a Federal or State agency.

                           IV. COMMITTEE VOTE

    In compliance with rule XXVI(7)(b) of the Standing Rules of 
the Senate, the following votes were recorded on July 24, 2002. 
A motion by Senator Kerry to adopt S. 2483, the ``National 
Small Business Regulatory Assistance Act of 2002,'' was 
approved by a 18-1 recorded vote, with the following Senators 
voting in the affirmative: Kerry, Bond, Levin, Harkin, 
Lieberman, Wellstone, Cleland, Landrieu, Edwards, Cantwell, 
Carnahan, Burns, Bennett, Snowe, Fitzgerald, Crapo, Allen and 
Ensign. Senator Enzi voted in the negative.


    In compliance with rule XXVI(11)(b) of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate, it is the opinion of the Committee that no 
significant additional regulatory impact will be incurred in 
carrying out the provisions of this legislation. There will be 
no additional impact on the personal privacy of companies or 
individuals who make use of the services provided.

                      VI. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In the opinion of the Committee, it is necessary to 
dispense with the requirement of rule XXVI (12) of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate in order to expedite the business of the 

                           VII. COST ESTIMATE

    In compliance with rule XXVI(11)(a)(1) of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee estimates the cost of the 
legislation will be equal to the amounts indicated by the 
Congressional Budget Office in the following letter.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 31, 2002.
Hon. John F. Kerry,
Chairman, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2483, the National 
Small Business Regulatory Assistance Act of 2002.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Ken Johnson.
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).

S. 2483--National Small Business Regulatory Assistance Act of 2002

    Summary: S. 2483 would require the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) to establish a pilot program for small 
business development centers (SBDCs) to counsel small business 
owners on compliance with federal and state regulations. SBDCs 
are cooperative efforts of the private sector, schools, and 
federal, state, and local governments to provide management 
assistance to current and prospective small business owners.
    S. 2483 would authorize the appropriation of $5 million a 
year during the 2003-2006 period to fund the new program. Based 
on the SBA's historical spending patterns, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost $20 million over the 2003-2007 
period, assuming the appropriation of the authorized amounts. 
The bill would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
    S. 2483 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
The bill would benefit state, local, or tribal governments 
receiving grants under this bill, and any costs incurred would 
be voluntary.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S.2483 is shown in the following table. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget function 370 
(commerce and housing credit).

                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                       2003     2004     2005     2006     2007

Authorizaiton Level................................................        5        5        5        5        0
Estimated Outlays..................................................        4        5        5        5        1

    Pay-as-you-go-considerations: None.
    Intergovernmetal and private-sector impact: S. 2483 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. The bill would benefit state, local, or tribal 
governments receiving grants under this bill, and any costs 
incurred would be voluntary.
    Previous CBO estimate: On August 13, 2001, CBO transmitted 
a cost estimate for H.R. 203, the National Small Business 
Regulatory Assistance Act of 2001, as ordered reported by the 
House Committee on Small Business on August 1, 2001. The 
provisions and the estimated costs of H.R. 203 are very similar 
to those of S. 2483, except that H.R. 203 would authorize the 
appropriation of $5 million for this program in 2002 and every 
year thereafter.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Ken Johnson, Impact on 
State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Greg Waring; and Impact 
on the Private Sector: Cecil McPherson.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.


Section 1. Short Title

    This Act is titled the ``National Small Business Regulatory 
Assistance Act of 2002.''

Section 2

    Sets out the purpose of the legislation.

Section 3

    Establishes the Small Business Regulatory Assistance Pilot 

Section 4

    Requires the Administrator of the Small Business 
Administration to establish regulations for the pilot program 
within 180 days of enactment.

Section 5

    Amends Section 21(c) of the Small Business Act to add 
paragraph (9), which establishes privacy requirements for Small 
Business Development Centers.

                          XI. ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    Since becoming Chairman of the Committee on Small Business 
(Committee) in January 1995, we have had discussions about 
legislation to enable the Small Business Development Centers 
(SBDCs) to provide regulatory compliance assistance to help 
small businesses cope with a myriad of complicated and 
burdensome Federal regulations. The SBDC Program, one of the 
hallmark programs of the Small Business Administration (SBA), 
has demonstrated that its centers, located in each State, have 
the ability to assist small businesses in ways that Federal and 
State entities cannot. I have long been an advocate of making 
greater use of the tremendous resources that exist within the 
SBDC program to benefit the small business community. In that 
regard, I was encouraged when the House of Representatives 
passed H.R. 203, the ``National Small Business Regulatory 
Assistance of 2000,'' on October 2, 2001. The bill was 
subsequently referred to the Committee.
    The practice of providing regulatory compliance assistance 
for small businesses is not a new one before the Committee. In 
1998, the Committee approved legislation on this subject, which 
subsequently passed the full Senate but was not taken up by the 
House of Representatives. Specifically, in April 1998, Senator 
Conrad Burns introduced S. 1957, the ``Small Business 
Regulatory Assistance Act of 1998.'' This bill was designed to 
establish a system of confidential voluntary compliance 
assistance for small businesses. Senator Burns' bill would have 
this program delivered by the SBDCs. After introduction of S. 
1957, the Committee conducted a hearing entitled 
``Environmental Compliance Tools for Small Business'' (Senate 
Hearing 105-663).
    Subsequently, on September 15, 1998, the Committee 
conducted a mark-up of S. 1957 and other pending legislation. 
As a substitute to S. 1957, the Committee approved an amendment 
offered by Senator Burns to H.R. 3412, the ``Year 2000 
Readiness and Small Business Programs Restructuring and Reform 
Act of 1998.'' The purpose of Senator Burns' amendment was to 
establish the Advisory Committee on Small Business 
Environmental Assistance Programs. The Amendment would have 
also established a pilot program to provide assistance to small 
businesses to improve their compliance with environmental laws 
and regulations. H.R. 3412, as amended, passed the Senate 
unanimously on September 30, 1998; however, the House of 
Representatives failed to act on the bill prior to adjournment 
later that year.
    On October 3, 2001, the House-passed H.R. 203 was referred 
to the Committee. On April 24, 2002, the Committee held a 
hearing highlighting the Fifth Anniversary of the enactment of 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, Public 
Law 104-121 (Red Tape Reduction Act). The Red Tape Reduction 
Act is legislation I introduced in 1995 to protect small 
businesses from excessive Federal regulations. During the 
course of the April 2002 hearing, we heard testimony on the 
need for regulatory compliance assistance for small businesses. 
Later, on July 24, 2002, Senator Kerry chaired a mark-up of 
several bills pending before the Committee, including S. 2483. 
S. 2483 is substantially similar to H.R. 203 and was introduced 
by Senator Max Cleland on May 8, 2002, the month following the 
Committee hearing on the Red Tape Reduction Act.
    At the Committee mark-up, Senator Kerry agreed to schedule 
promptly a Committee Roundtable at which time legislation on 
small business regulatory compliance assistance could be 
discussed in detail. At the same time, the Committee agreed to 
report out S. 2483 to the Senate, but it was agreed and 
understood that the record of the Roundtable would likely 
result in changes being offered to the bill on the Senate 
    Statements and testimony on behalf of H.R. 203 and S. 2483 
in many instances highlighted the importance of establishing 
partnerships comprised of SBDCs and Federal, State and local 
compliance assistance programs. The statements focused on the 
need to provide assistance to small businesses to comply with 
Federal and State regulations that confront them daily.
    Establishing partnerships is a notable goal that will 
likely be of significant assistance to our Nation's small 
businesses and their employees. However, the bills pending 
before the Committee during the July 24, 2002 mark-up, while 
mentioning partnerships, neither addressed how the partnerships 
would be formed nor what would be expected of such 
    At the same time, the legislation focused on regulatory 
compliance assistance to small businesses confronted by 
environmental rules and health and safety rules. The bills 
appeared to set the SBDCs apart from the ongoing compliance 
assistance programs being carried out by the Environmental 
Protection Administration (EPA) and the Department of Labor's 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). After 
reviewing the ongoing programs at the EPA and OSHA, it became 
apparent that a better approach would be to create a pilot 
program. The pilot program would unite the SBDCs with the key 
compliance assistance providers in each State to form 
partnerships mandating that each entity would work with one 
another to the advantage of small businesses.
    As discussed at the Committee Roundtable on August 1, 2002, 
the EPA already provides regulatory compliance assistance 
through its Small Business Ombudsman, which has one-stop small 
business assistance between businesses and EPA offices. 
Further, the Section 507 Small Business Assistance Program 
(SBAP) provides technical assistance to small businesses in all 
50 States through state-operated programs. In addition, the EPA 
Office of Compliance Assistance provides Internet-delivered 
virtual compliance assistance centers to a variety of business 
sectors, such as printing and local government.
    The Office of the Administrator at the EPA also provides 
opportunities for small businesses to participate in the 
regulatory process. Since enactment of the Red Tape Reduction 
Act in 1997, small businesses have been able to weigh in on 23 
different rule makings and in the development of six compliance 
    Significantly, in December 2001, OSHA and the Association 
of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) entered into a 
partnership with the Department of Labor's Office of Small 
Business Programs (OSBP) to help small businesses improve their 
safety and health performance. The OSHA-ASBDC Partnership 
Agreement established a comprehensive effort to improve the 
safety and health performance of small businesses that receive 
outreach and training services. Under the agreement, the 
partners will:
           (1) identify interested small businesses 
        that wish to learn more about safety and health, need 
        assistance with program development, or
           (2) be recognized through OSHA's Voluntary 
        Protection Program (VPP) or the Safety and Health 
        Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), which is 
        designed for small businesses that undergo free 
        comprehensive safety and health consultation.
    While the Federal attention in these areas might rest 
primarily on two Federal agencies, there are an array of 
regional and state entities that could be involved in this 
effort. The legislation before the Committee neither defined 
nor explained the relationship between the SBDCs and those 
entities that deliver regulatory compliance assistance. In 
order for the SBA to select participating SBDCs and to approve 
up to $5 million in grants to SBDCs each year, the legislation 
must establish parameters and goals for these partnerships.
    In conclusion, nothing said at the Roundtable deterred my 
interest in and support for providing regulatory compliance 
assistance to small businesses. I remain convinced the SBDCs in 
our fifty states can bring very valuable help to the process. 
Therefore, when S. 2483 comes before the Senate for debate, it 
is my intention to offer an Amendment in the Nature of a 
Substitute that will create a new ``Partnership Statewide 
Plan'' that will establish clearly the partnership between the 
SBDCs and the Federal and State providers of compliance 
assistance. It is not my intention for the Substitute Amendment 
to replace H.R. 203 and S. 2483. Rather, I see the Substitute 
Amendment as taking the role of the SBDCs and weaving it into 
an effective partnership that takes advantage of the strengths 
of the SBDC program in combination with existing compliance 
assistance programs designed to help small businesses.

                                               Christopher S. Bond.