"In meetings and Main Street tours, a top concern I continue to hear from small businesses is the stifling effect of onerous federal regulations on their ability to grow, plan for the future and hire new employees," Snowe said. "It is critical that the effect of federal regulations on small businesses be taken into greater consideration throughout the regulatory process."

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Snowe, the ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said that committee has held several hearings on how federal regulation is hurting small companies, and said her bill is aimed at producing results.

Specifically, the bill would require federal agencies to consider how regulations affect small businesses and penalize agencies that don't conduct these reviews. It would also create nine new small-business review panels at key agencies, and allow small companies to seek judicial review of regulations within the first year they are finalized.

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