Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register contains 186 new agency submissions, including a handful of financial rules and proposed rules coming out of the Dodd-Frank reform law, as well as notices and meetings. Here's what's happening:
DEBT: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is gathering more industry feedback as it considers regulating debt collectors.
The CFPB received three requests from industry groups asking for more time to respond, so it decided to extend the comment period on the rule to Feb. 28 from Feb. 10. The bureau hopes to collect more information about the accuracy of information debt collectors use, how to make sure consumers understand their rights, and the communication tactics collectors use to recover debts.
The CFPB describes the debt collection market as a multi-billion dollar industry with more than 4,500 firms in the United States.
“For decades, many consumers have reported various unacceptable practices in the debt collection industry. Today’s action will allow us to hear from the public as we consider what rules are needed,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in November, when he first announced the rules. “We want to ensure that all players in the industry are working with correct information, that consumers are fully informed, and that consumers are treated fairly and with dignity.”
COMMODITIES: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is seeking to establish speculative position limits for 28 agricultural commodity futures and options contracts that had previously been exempt from such regulation, including milk, coffee, wheat, sugar, and corn.
Excessive speculative trading has been blamed for contributing to the 2008 financial crisis. Officials believe that rules limiting speculative trading will lead to greater price stability in common food products. The CFTC is extending the comment period for the aggregation rule to Feb. 10.
FinCEN: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, is reorganizing its rules to streamline its approach with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. FinCEN was created under the Bank Secrecy Act, and is the lead agency tackling Bitcoin regulations.
INDUSTRIAL PUMPS: In the wake of the chemical spill in West Virginia, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a series of meetings that are open to the public to discuss a proposed rule for the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial pumps, in accordance with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The meetings will be held between January and July, starting Jan. 30.
TRUCK DRIVERS: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Transportation Department, is extending a rule that requires semi-truck drivers to retain medical certification in the cab of their trucks. The rule only applies to interstate drivers with a commercial license or learner's permit, and is now in place through Jan. 30, 2015.