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Federal Register Highlights – 8/30/16

August 30, 2016

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for August 30, 2016:

PROPOSED RULE: We are proposing to amend the regulations concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables to allow the importation of fresh persimmon with calyxes from Japan into the United States. As a condition of entry, the persimmons would have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include requirements for orchard certification, orchard pest control, post-harvest safeguards, fruit culling, traceback, and sampling. The persimmons would also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that they were produced under, and meet all the components of, the agreed upon systems approach and were inspected and found to be free of quarantine pests in accordance with the proposed requirements. This action would allow the importation of fresh persimmons with calyxes from Japan while continuing to protect against the introduction of plant pests into the United States. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before October 31, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference Docket No. APHIS–2015–0098.)

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone of 1,000 yard radius for the Cruise Ship Caribbean Fantasy due to an imminent fire on board, in the vicinity of Punta Salinas, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards associated with the fire on board the vessel. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port San Juan. This rule is effective without actual notice from August 30, 2016 until 11:59 p.m. on August 31, 2016.

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for navigable waters east of Ft. Monroe located in Hampton, VA, on the Chesapeake Bay. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards associated with military exercises involving high-speed, quick maneuvering vessels. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Hampton Roads. This rule is effective from 7 a.m. on September 7, 2016, through 6 p.m. on October 7, 2016.

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on a portion of Shark River, in Neptune City, NJ, from September 1, 2016, through September 30, 2016, while dredging operations are being conducted in the main navigational channel. This safety zone is necessary to provide for the safety of life on navigable waters during dredging operations and will restrict vessel traffic from transiting the main navigational channel. This rule is effective from September 1, 2016, through September 30, 2016.

TEMPORARY RULE: The Coast Guard is establishing a special local regulation on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Bucksport, South Carolina during the Bucksport/Lake Murray Drag Boat Fall Nationals, on September 10 and September 11, 2016. This special local regulation is necessary to ensure the safety of participants, spectators, and the general public during the event. This regulation prohibits persons and vessels from being in the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative. This rule is effective from September 10, 2016 through September 11, 2016.

PROPOSED RULE: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“Commission” or “CFTC”) is proposing to amend its regulations to enhance the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and to make related changes to clarify staff authority to administer the whistleblower program. The Commission also is reinterpreting its anti-retaliation authority and proposing appropriate rule amendments to implement that authority. Comments must be received on or before September 29, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 3038–AE50.)

PROPOSED RULE: DoD is proposing to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 that provides exceptions from the certified cost and pricing data requirements and from the records examination requirement for certain awards to small businesses or nontraditional defense contractors.  Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted in writing on or before October 31, 2016, to be considered in the formation of a final rule. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference  DFARS Case 2016–D016.)

PROPOSED RULE: In this document, the Department proposes to amend a regulation that describes how states may design and operate payroll deduction savings programs, using automatic enrollment, for private-sector employees without causing the states or private- sector employers to establish employee pension benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The proposed amendments would expand the current regulation beyond states to cover programs of qualified state political subdivisions that otherwise comply with the current regulation. This rule would affect individuals and employers subject to such programs. Written comments should be received on or before September 29, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 1210–AB76.)

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for commercial blueline tilefish in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. Commercial landings for blueline tilefish are projected to reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) by August 30, 2016. Therefore, NMFS is closing the commercial sector for blueline tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ at 12:01 a.m., local time, August 30, 2016, and it will remain closed until the start of the next fishing year on January 1, 2017. This closure is necessary to protect the blueline tilefish resource. This rule is effective at 12:01 a.m., local time, August 30, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2017.

PROPOSED RULE: The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a proposed rule to provide flexibility to agencies regarding payment for Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage for employees entering leave without pay (LWOP) or any other type of nonpay status, except when nonpay is as a result of a lapse of appropriations. The regulation also affects employees who have insufficient pay to cover their premium contribution. Under current regulations, a Federal agency pays the employee’s share and the Government’s share of FEHB premiums if an employee in LWOP or other nonpay status elects to continue coverage while in LWOP or other nonpay status and agrees to repay the agency (referred to interchangeably as ‘‘employing office’’) for their employee share upon return to employment for up to 365 days. In other words, the agency must allow an employee to incur a debt for the employee contribution to premium. This outlay of funds may result in an agency incurring a significant amount of debt. This proposed rule would provide an agency with the flexibility to require that all of its employees in LWOP or other nonpay status, except as a result of lapse of appropriations, pay their employee share for FEHB coverage directly to the agency and keep the payments current, if those employees elect to continue FEHB enrollment. Under 5 U.S.C. 8906(e), if an employee in LWOP status chooses to continue FEHB enrollment, the employee and Government contributions shall be paid on a current basis; and, if necessary, the agency shall approve advance payment of a portion of basic pay sufficient to cover the employee contribution. The agency will then recover the amount that it advanced from the employee upon his or her return to employment. Under current regulations employees in LWOP or other nonpay status can elect to make premium payments directly to an agency and keep payments current. Alternatively, employees in these circumstances may elect not to pay premiums directly on a current basis and can incur a debt such that their employing office advances the payments to cover their premiums. The employee agrees that upon his or her return to employment, or upon pay becoming sufficient, the employing office will deduct, in addition to the current pay period’s premium, the accrued unpaid premiums from the employee’s salary until the debt is recovered. Under this proposed rule, an agency may choose to require that an employee pay premiums directly to the agency on a current basis if the agency makes a determination that all employees in non-pay or insufficient pay status must pay premiums currently. The proposed rule also specifies the procedures for disenrollment for nonpayment of premiums. Comments are due on or before October 31, 2016. (To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov, reference RIN 3206–AN33.)

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