By The Hill Staff - 07/22/11 12:07 AM EDT
• The Federal Communications Commission has a proposed rule open for comment that would “empower consumers in rural and underserved areas to improve their wireless coverage in their homes, at their jobs, and when they travel by car, recreational vehicle, or boat.” The rule would allow “individuals and entities” to use a signal booster for “subscriber-based services” as long as it was used by a consumer or for a consumer’s benefit. The rule, which identifies “voice communications, texting [and] using a broadband connection to access email or the Internet” as appropriate subscriber-based services, has a reply comment period ending July 25.
• The Health and Human Services Department has created a proposed rule that would “provide individuals with the right to receive an access report indicating who has accessed electronic protected health information in a designated record set.” The rule currently requires such entities as healthcare providers that “conduct [certain] healthcare transactions electronically” to record who accesses the electronic health information; however, they do not have to release the information to individuals. The proposed rule, which would require individuals to request an access report to see the information, is open for comment through Aug. 1.
• The Federal Reserve System’s board of governors has proposed a rule that would “require creditors to determine a consumer’s ability to repay a mortgage before making the loan and would establish minimum mortgage underwriting standards,” according to a Federal Reserve press release. The proposed rule would enact these amendments to the Regulation Z Truth in Lending Act as part of the Dodd-Frank reform law. The rule, which was placed under the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday, is open for comment until Friday.
• The Agriculture Marketing Service has proposed a rule that it says would encourage safe and quality farming and handling of leafy green vegetables in the United States. The National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement would allow for the “development and implementation of production and handling regulations ... to reflect United States Food and Drug Administration Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices, and [Agriculture Department] Good Handling Practices.” The voluntary program, which would designate a board of farmers, handlers and retailers to manage the rule, has a comment period ending July 28.