Reg Watch

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

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a notice to begin disbursing $17.5 million in federal funds to states as an incentive to enact and enforce distracted-driving laws. The agency is asking states to submit applications for grant funding. A state may qualify for the award by “having a comprehensive primary enforcement distracted driving law” or, for this year only, “having a primary enforcement texting law if the state is ineligible for a Distracted Driving Grant.” Applications for fiscal 2013 distracted-driving grants must be received by Oct. 9.

• The IRS has submitted a notice for a proposed rule to “reflect changes” to charitable hospital requirements as enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Among other changes, it would require hospital organizations to “conduct a community health needs assessment at least once every three years and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs.” Hospitals must also create a “financial assistance policy,” for patients who require emergency care and might need a fee discount. Additionally, hospitals must try to determine whether a patient is eligible for a fee reduction “before engaging in extraordinary collection actions.” Comments are due by Oct. 31.

• The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a request for information regarding “effective financial protection.” The Office of Financial Education within the bureau seeks to “develop and launch initiatives that will educate consumers and help them make better informed financial decisions.” It is looking for the public to comment on what is needed to create the program, “including tools, topics and dissemination strategies that will help improve consumers’ financial decision-making capabilities.” Comments are due by Oct. 31.

• The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a rule regarding safety standards for play yards intended to “address the hazards associated with the use of play yard bassinet accessories that can be assembled with missing key structural elements.” The commission received a report of a child who died from slipping into a corner of the “bassinet,” or sleep surface, where she suffocated. In-house tests by the commission found that “the incident was caused by the omission of key structural elements.” Comments are due by Nov. 13.