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Federal Register Highlights – 8/6/15

August 6, 2015

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for August 6, 2015:

PROPOSED RULE: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is proposing to amend its regulations governing the participation by religious organizations in USAID’s programs to reflect guidance from the Interagency Working Group on Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Partnerships on implementing Executive Order 13559. Submit comments on or before September 8, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: This rule proposes to revise USDA’s regulation that covers equal opportunity for participation of faith- based (religious) organizations in USDA programs. These revisions are being undertaken to implement Executive Order 13559, Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations. Executive Order 13559 amended Executive Order 13279, Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations, which provides the legal basis for USDA’s current equal participation regulations to protect religious liberty rights of beneficiaries of USDA funded programs. This rule adopts changes to Executive Order 13279 made by Executive Order 13559, including changes to specific terminology, additional beneficiary protections, and clarifications on the responsibilities of intermediaries. In addition to proposing regulatory amendments to implement Executive Order 13559, USDA is also publishing for public comment a Paperwork Reduction Act information collection notice of beneficiary protections for use by religious organizations. Comment Due Date. October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposes to establish the approximately 2,760- square mile ‘‘Tip of the Mitt’’ viticultural area in all or portions of Charlevoix, Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Alpena, and Antrim Counties in Michigan. The proposed viticultural area is not located within, nor does it contain, any other established viticultural area. TTB designates viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase. TTB invites comments on this proposed addition to its regulations. Comments must be received by October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The United States Department Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes to amend its general regulations regarding the equal treatment of religious organizations in HHS programs and the protection of religious liberty for HHS social service providers and beneficiaries. Specifically, this proposed rule would: Clarify the definition of direct and indirect financial assistance, replace the term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities,” require faith-based organizations administering a program supported with direct HHS financial assistance to provide beneficiaries with a written notice informing them of their religious liberty protections, including the right to a referral to an alternative provider if the beneficiary objects to the religious character of the organization providing services, and add a provision stating that decisions about awards of Federal financial assistance must be free from political interference and based on merit. Comments must be submitted by October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The Secretary proposes to amend the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) governing direct grant programs and State-administered programs as they relate to faith-based organizations. The Secretary also proposes to amend the regulations governing uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for Federal awards. The amendments are designed to implement Executive Order 13279, as amended by Executive Order 13559. Executive Order 13279 established fundamental principles to guide the policies of Federal agencies, including the Department of Education, regarding the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in programs that they administer. Executive Order 13559 amended Executive Order 13279 to clarify those principles and add certain protections for beneficiaries of Federal social service programs who are served by faith-based organizations. We must receive your comments on or before October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing to revise its test procedure for battery chargers established under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, as amended (EPCA). These proposed revisions, if adopted, would harmonize the instrumentation resolution and uncertainty requirements with the second edition of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62301 standard and other international standards for measuring standby power. Additionally, the proposed amendments would update and propose new battery selection criteria for multi-voltage, multi-capacity battery chargers, and provide specific steps on how to select a battery for those chargers when more than one battery meets the selection criteria, such as with a multi-chemistry battery charger. The proposal also outlines new provisions for conditioning and discharging lead acid batteries. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking before and after the public meeting, but no later than October 20, 2015. (to submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: In this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposes to reaffirm that the currently prescribed test procedure must be used when measuring the energy efficiency ratio, integrated energy efficiency ratio, and coefficient of performance for small, large, and very large air-cooled commercial unitary air conditioners (CUAC) and commercial unitary heat pumps (CUHP). With this test procedure rulemaking, DOE fulfills its obligation under EPCA to review its test procedures for covered equipment at least once every seven years and either amend the applicable test procedures or publish a determination in the Federal Register not to amend them. The proposed amendments would limit the incorporation by reference of the industry test procedure AHRI Standard 340/360–2007, “2007 Standard for Performance Rating of Commercial and Industrial Unitary Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment” to certain sections and addenda; specify requirements for indoor airflow tolerance and adjustment to meet other rating conditions; clarify requirements for condenser head pressure controls; clarify units of measurement for airflow; and establish a tolerance on part-load rating points. DOE also proposes to amend the certification, compliance, and enforcement provisions for CUACs and CUHPs to specify additional reporting requirements for indoor airflow and add enforcement provisions for verifying the rated cooling capacity, as the rated cooling capacity determines which class of equipment the product belongs to and also determines certain testing conditions. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) before and after any public meeting, but no later than September 8, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: This document proposes updates to the rules that govern the evaluation and approval of RF devices. The Commission last comprehensively reviewed its equipment authorization procedures more than fifteen years ago. The RF equipment ecosystem has significantly expanded in that time, and the manner in which today’s RF equipment is now designed, manufactured, and marketed—as well as the sheer number of devices subject to authorization—warrant the proposed rule modifications. Comments must be filed on or before September 8, 2015, and reply comments must be filed on or before September 21, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: This proposed rule would implement revised Executive Branch policy that, consistent with constitutional church-state parameters, faith-based organizations compete on an equal footing with other organizations for direct Federal financial assistance, and to fully participate in Federally supported social service programs, while beneficiaries under those programs receive appropriate protections. This rulemaking is intended to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security’s social service programs are implemented in a manner consistent with the requirements of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Written comments must be received on or before October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: This rule proposes to revise HUD’s regulation that covers the equal participation of faith-based (religious) organizations in HUD Programs, including all of HUD’s Native American Programs, as well as several program- specific regulations regarding the equal participation of faith-based organizations. These revisions are being undertaken to implement Executive Order 13559, Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations. Executive Order 13559 revised Executive Order 13279, Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations, which provides the legal basis for HUD’s current equal participation regulations. This rule implements changes to Executive Order 13279 made by Executive Order 13559, including changes to specific terminology, additional beneficiary protections, and clarifications on the responsibilities of intermediaries. In addition to proposing regulatory amendments to implement Executive Order 13559, HUD is also publishing for public comment a sample notice of beneficiary protections for use by faith-based organizations. Comment Due Date. October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The rule proposes to amend Department of Justice (Department) regulations on the equal treatment for faith-based or religious organizations and to implement Executive Order 13559 (Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships With Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations). This rule proposes to revise Department regulations pertaining to prohibited religious uses of direct Federal financial assistance to provide clarity about the rights and obligations of faith-based and religious groups participating in Department programs and to provide protections for beneficiaries of those programs. The Department seeks public comments only on the proposed revisions that are being made to implement Executive Order 13559. Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The United States Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) proposes to amend its general regulations regarding the equal treatment of religious organizations in Department of Labor programs and the protection of religious liberty for Department of Labor social service providers and beneficiaries. Specifically, this proposed rule would: Clarify the definition of direct and indirect financial assistance, replace the term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities” and define the latter term as “including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization,” require faith-based organizations administering a program supported with direct DOL financial assistance to provide beneficiaries with a written notice informing them of their religious liberty rights, including the right to a referral to an alternative provider if the beneficiary objects to the religious character of the organization providing services, and add a provision stating that decisions about awards of Federal financial assistance must be free from political interference and based on merit. These changes are necessitated by the issuance in November 2010, of Executive Order 13559, Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations. Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: NMFS is proposing regulations that would refinance the 30-year voluntary fishing capacity reduction loan implemented in 2004 into three separate loans, if approved through referenda, in the Pacific Coast Groundfish federal limited-entry trawl, Washington coastal Dungeness crab, and California pink shrimp fisheries (collectively known hereafter as the refinanced reduction fisheries). The refinanced loan, of up to $30 million, would establish a new industry fee system for future landings of the refinanced reduction fisheries. The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act authorized NMFS to refinance the loan and modify certain terms to extend the 30 year term to maturity to 45 years, change the interest rate to the current Treasury interest rate and, reduce the maximum repayment fee from five to three percent of ex-vessel value. If finalized, and with the receipt of an appropriation, NMFS proposes to refinance the single existing debt, which has been divided into seven loan subamounts, into three separate loans. NMFS would conduct three referenda as soon as practicable after publication of the final rule in each of the Pacific Coast Groundfish federal limited-entry trawl, Washington coastal Dungeness crab and California pink shrimp fisheries. If a referendum in one, two, or all three of the fisheries is successful, that fishery’s current loan would be repaid in full and new loans in the amount of the principal and interest balance as of the date of funding would be issued per the terms in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. These terms include a new 45-year term to maturity, interest charged at a current Treasury interest rate, and a maximum repayment fee of 3 percent of ex-vessel value. NMFS must receive comments by September 8, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is proposing to amend regulations to change program requirements regarding financial reporting to align RHS requirements with those of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which will reduce the burden on the borrower to produce multiple financial reports. Written comments must be received on or before October 5, 2015 to be assured for consideration. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

PROPOSED RULE: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its existing regulations concerning VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD) and Supportive Service for Veterans Families Program (SSVF) and to establish a new part. More specifically, VA proposes to revise provisions that apply to religious organizations that receive financial assistance from VA in order to more clearly distinguish between “direct” and “indirect” financial assistance, amend VA’s regulations to replace the term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities”, and establish new provisions that provide valuable protections for beneficiaries, provide guidance to VA employees and faith-based and other neighborhood organizations that receive “direct” or “indirect” VA financial assistance, and provide clear and uniform instructions on the fundamental principles that apply to their awards. Comments must be received on or before October 5, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov. Click here to be taken directly to the commenting page.)

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