Reg Watch

Public comment periods are closing soon for the following proposed rules:

• The Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments have published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that would create “alternative ways to fulfill [contraceptive requirements] when health coverage is sponsored or arranged by [certain employers.]” The rule would apply to “a religious organization that objects to the coverage of contraceptive services for religious reasons” for religious employers “not currently exempt under the final regulations.” The departments are requesting comment “on the potential means of accommodating such organizations while ensuring contraceptive coverage for plan participants and beneficiaries covered under their plans ... without cost sharing.” All comments, including those on how to define a “religious organization,” should be submitted by June 19.

• The Food and Nutrition Service has created a proposed rule that would alter the renewal and review process for groups involved in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which provides healthy meals and snacks. The rule, which implements the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, would allow daycare centers to “annually confirm that the institution is in compliance with the licensing requirements” and submit additional information as needed instead of reapplying for the program entirely.  The Food and Nutrition Service is requesting that all comments be submitted through June 8.

• The Farm Service Agency has proposed a rule that would “amend the Farm Loan Programs (FLP) regulations for loan making and servicing.” The changes would alter FLP regulations for “real estate appraisals, lease, subordination and disposition of security and Conservation Contract requirements.” The farm loan programs “provid[e] credit to farmers whose financial risk exceeds a level acceptable to commercial lenders.” The programs “offe[r] customers ongoing consultation.” One potential change would limit the requirement “that in order for [the Farm Service Agency] to have the rights to oil, gas or other minerals as FO [Farm Ownership] loan collateral, the products’ value must have been considered in the appraised value of collateral securing the loan.” While the agency has “administratively extended this requirement to any type of FLP loan,” the proposed rule would limit the requirement in the regulation to apply only to FO loans. Comments are due by June 12.