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Federal Register Highlights – 11/18/15

November 18, 2015

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for November 18, 2015:

PROPOSED RULE: DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to re- designate the terminology for unique identification of entities receiving Federal awards. The change to the FAR will remove the proprietary standard or number. Interested parties should submit written comments to the Regulatory Secretariat on or before January 19, 2016 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference FAR Case 2015-022.)

PROPOSED RULE: This document contains proposed amendments to claims procedure regulations for plans providing disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The amendments would revise and strengthen the current rules primarily by adopting certain of the new procedural protections and safeguards made applicable to group health plans by the Affordable Care Act. If adopted as final, the proposed regulation would affect plan administrators and participants and beneficiaries of plans providing disability benefits, and others who assist in the provision of these benefits, such as third-party benefits administrators and other service providers that provide benefits to participants and beneficiaries of these plans. Written comments should be received by the Department of Labor on or before January 19, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 1210-AB39.)

PROPOSED RULE: This document contains a proposed regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) setting forth a safe harbor describing circumstances in which a payroll deduction savings program, including one with automatic enrollment, would not give rise to an employee pension benefit plan under ERISA. A program described in this proposal would be established and maintained by a state government, and state law would require certain private- sector employers to make the program available to their employees. Several states are considering or have adopted measures to increase access to payroll deduction savings for individuals employed or residing in their jurisdictions. By making clear that state payroll deduction savings programs with automatic enrollment that conform to the safe harbor in this proposal do not establish ERISA plans, the objective of the safe harbor is to reduce the risk of such state programs being preempted if they were ever challenged. If adopted, this rule would affect individuals and employers subject to such laws. Written comments should be received by the Department of Labor on or before January 19, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 1210-AB71.)

PROPOSED RULE: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing to codify provisions of the EPS Service Parts Act of 2014 that exempt from energy conservation standards certain external power supplies (EPSs) made available by a manufacturer as a service or spare part. Consistent with that Act, DOE is proposing to require annual reports of the total number of exempt EPS units sold as service and spare parts that do not meet the relevant energy conservation standards. DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this notice of proposed rulemaking no later than December 18, 2015. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket Number EERE-2015-BT-CRT-0013.)

PROPOSED RULE: In this document, the Commission proposes to amend its rules to modify its current four-year compensation rate plan for Video Relay Service (VRS), adopted in 2013, by adopting a limited-duration compensation rate freeze applicable to VRS providers with 500,000 or fewer monthly minutes, and solicits comment on whether to adopt a number of service quality measures that could enhance the functional equivalence of VRS. Comments on the section entitled VRS Compensation Rates (paragraphs 1–9) are due on or before December 9, 2015, and reply comments are due on or before December 24, 2015. Comments on the section entitled VRS Improvements (paragraphs 10–25) are due on or before January 4, 2016, and reply comments are due on or before February 1, 2016. (To submit comments, visit http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2. Follow the instructions on the website to submit your comments. Identify comments with CG Docket No. 10-51 and 03-123.)

PROPOSED RULE: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is proposing to establish requirements concerning “gluten-free” labeling for foods that are fermented or hydrolyzed or that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients. These additional requirements for the “gluten-free” labeling rule are needed to help ensure that individuals with celiac disease are not misled and receive truthful and accurate information with respect to fermented or hydrolyzed foods labeled as “gluten-free.” There is uncertainty in interpreting the results of current gluten test methods for fermented and hydrolyzed foods on a quantitative basis that equates the test results in terms of intact gluten. Thus, we propose to evaluate compliance of such fermented and hydrolyzed foods that bear a “gluten-free” claim with the gluten-free labeling rule based on records that are made and kept by the manufacturer of the food bearing the “gluten-free” claim and made available to us for inspection and copying. The records would need to provide adequate assurance that the food is “gluten-free” in compliance with the gluten-free food labeling final rule before fermentation or hydrolysis. In addition, the proposed rule would require the manufacturer of fermented or hydrolyzed foods bearing the “gluten- free” claim to document that it has adequately evaluated the potential for gluten cross-contact and, if identified, that the manufacturer has implemented measures to prevent the introduction of gluten into the food during the manufacturing process. Likewise, manufacturers of foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients and bear the “gluten-free” claim would be required to make and keep records that demonstrate with adequate assurance that the fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients are “gluten-free” in compliance with the gluten-free food labeling final rule. Finally, the proposed rule would state that we would evaluate compliance of distilled foods by verifying the absence of protein using scientifically valid analytical methods that can reliably detect the presence of protein or protein fragments in the distilled food. Submit either electronic or written comments on the proposed rule by February 16, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket Number FDA-2014-N-1021.)

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) for commercial king mackerel in the western zone of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) through this temporary final rule. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota for king mackerel in the western zone of the Gulf EEZ will be reached by November 17, 2015. Therefore, NMFS closes the western zone of the Gulf EEZ to commercial king mackerel fishing on November 17, 2015. This closure is necessary to protect the Gulf king mackerel resource. The closure is effective at noon, local time, November 17, 2015, until 12:01 a.m., local time, on July 1, 2016.

PROPOSED RULE: This document contains the changes to the regulations governing the administration of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, as amended (EEOICPA or Act), being proposed by the Department of Labor (Department or DOL). Part B of the Act provides uniform lump-sum payments and medical benefits to covered employees and, where applicable, to survivors of such employees, of the Department of Energy (DOE), its predecessor agencies and certain of its vendors, contractors and subcontractors. Part B of the Act also provides smaller uniform lump- sum payments and medical benefits to individuals found eligible by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for benefits under section 5 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) and, where applicable, to their survivors. Part E of the Act provides variable lump-sum payments (based on a worker’s permanent impairment and/ or qualifying calendar years of established wage-loss) and medical benefits for covered DOE contractor employees and, where applicable, provides variable lump-sum payments to survivors of such employees (based on a worker’s death due to a covered illness and any qualifying calendar years of established wage-loss). Part E of the Act also provides these same payments and benefits to uranium miners, millers and ore transporters covered by section 5 of RECA and, where applicable, to survivors of such employees. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers the adjudication of claims and the payment of benefits under EEOICPA, with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimating the amounts of radiation received by employees alleged to have sustained cancer as a result of such exposure and establishing guidelines to be followed by OWCP in determining whether such cancers are at least as likely as not related to employment. Both DOE and DOJ are responsible for notifying potential claimants and for submitting evidence necessary for OWCP’s adjudication of claims under EEOICPA. Comments on the regulations in this proposed rule must be submitted on or before January 19, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 1240-AA08.)

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