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Federal Register Highlights – 12/23/14

December 23, 2014

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for December 23, 2014:

PROPOSED RULE: The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) is proposing to amend Regulation E, which implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA); Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act (TILA); and the official interpretations to the regulations. The proposal would create comprehensive consumer protections for prepaid financial products. The proposal would expressly bring such products within the ambit of Regulation E as prepaid accounts and create new provisions specific to such accounts. The proposal would generally cover those prepaid accounts that are cards, codes, or other devices capable of being loaded with funds and usable at unaffiliated merchants or for person-to-person transfers, and are not gift cards (or certain other related types of cards). The proposal would modify Regulation E  to establish disclosure requirements specific to prepaid accounts that would require financial institutions to provide certain  disclosures to consumers prior to and after the acquisition of a prepaid account. The proposal would also include an option  for an alternative to Regulation E’s periodic statement requirement that would permit prepaid product providers to make  available to consumers certain methods for access to account information in lieu of sending periodic statements.  Additionally, the proposal would apply Regulation E’s  limited liability and error resolution provisions to prepaid accounts,  with certain modifications, including applying these provisions after account registration. Moreover, the proposal would  require prepaid account issuers to provide the Bureau with terms and conditions for prepaid accounts, which it would post on a Web site maintained by the Bureau. Relatedly, issuers would also be required to post the terms and conditions on their  own Web sites or make them available upon request. Finally, the proposal would also contain amendments to Regulations Z  and E to regulate prepaid accounts with overdraft services or credit features. Among other things, prepaid cards that access overdraft services or credit features for a fee would generally be credit cards subject to Regulation Z and its credit card rules.  Moreover, the proposal would require that consumers consent to overdraft services or credit features and give them at least  21 days to repay the debt incurred in connection with using such services or features. Further, Regulation E would be  amended to include disclosures about overdraft services or credit features that could be linked to prepaid accounts. The compulsory use provision under Regulation E would also be amended so that prepaid account issuers would be prohibited  from requiring consumers to set up preauthorized electronic fund transfers to repay credit extended through an overdraft  service or credit feature. Comments must be received on or before March 23, 2015. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number CFPB–2014–0031. Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing two temporary safety zones for two fireworks display events within the Captain of the Port (COTP) New Orleans Zone. This action is necessary to protect persons and vessels from potential safety hazards associated with these events. Entry into these zones is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port New Orleans or a designated representative. This rule is effective without actual notice from December 23, 2014 until January 1, 2015. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from December 6, 2014, until December 23, 2014. This rule will be enforced from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on December 6, 2014 and from 11:45 p.m. on New Year’s  Eve, December 31, 2014 to 12:30 a.m. on January 1, 2015.

PROPOSED RULE: This document contains proposed rules that would amend the regulations regarding excepted benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the Internal Revenue Code (the Code), and the Public Health Service Act related to limited wraparound coverage. Excepted benefits are generally exempt from the requirements that were added to those laws by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable  Care Act. Comments are due on or before January 22, 2015. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number CMS–9946–P2. Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

PROPOSED RULE: This proposed rule would amend the regulation that provides for the issuance of licenses to import certain dairy articles under tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) as set forth in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. The three most significant changes to the rule would be to suspend for an additional seven years, the historical license reduction provision, which currently expires with the beginning of quota year 2016; to modify procedures for collecting licensing fees  in order to better align the fee collection to the costs of administering the program; and to exclusively use electronic communications in the application, reporting and payment processes. The expected outcome from the implementation of the proposed changes would be to allow license holders to adjust to changing market conditions impacting the dairy sector; increase the Department’s ability to more closely align cost recovery with the actual costs of administering the program; and  allow the Department to reduce lag times, minimize paper files, and increase the efficiency of the program operations. Submit comments on this proposed rule on or before February 23, 2015. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 0551–AA82. Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

PROPOSED RULE: This document contains proposed regulations relating to the nonrecognition of gain or loss on certain dispositions of an installment obligation. In general, under the proposed regulations a transferor does not recognize gain or loss on certain dispositions of an installment obligation if gain or loss is not recognized on the disposition under another  provision of the Internal Revenue Code. The proposed regulations also provide that this general rule does not apply to the satisfaction of an installment obligation. For example, an installment obligation of an issuer, such as a corporation or partnership, is satisfied when the holder transfers the obligation to the issuer for an equity interest in the issuer. Comments or a request for a public hearing must be received by March 23, 2015. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number IRS–REG–109187–11. Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 50 feet (15.2 meters (m)) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2014 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to catcher vessels less than 50 feet (15.2 m) LOA using hook-and-line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 18, 2014, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2014.

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS announces that the State of Maine is transferring a portion of its 2014 commercial summer  flounder quota to the State of Connecticut. NMFS is adjusting the quotas and announcing the revised commercial quota for  each state involved. Effective December 18, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

PROPOSED RULE: The Postal Service proposes to revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), to add a new Address Quality Measurement process for participating mailers, who enter eligible basic and full-service mailings. Submit comments on or before January 22, 2015. Mail or deliver written comments to the  manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW., Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260–5015.

PROPOSED RULE: The Department of the Treasury is mak[ing] amendments to the Department of the Treasury Acquisition Regulation (DTAR) in order to make editorial changes. These editorial changes are in response to either updates made to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Treasury bureau organizational restructuring, and other internal  updates that have occurred since the 2013 edition. Comment due date: January 22, 2015. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, and search for any combination of the terms in the title of this proposal: “Department of the Treasury Acquisition Regulation; Technical Amendments”. Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

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