New regs for Monday: Pot, LGBT housing discrimination, 3D lasers

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for the political activity of government employees, lasers, government-sponsored marijuana and LGBT housing discrimination.

Here's what is happening: 

Campaigns: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is moving forward with new political activity rules for federal employees.

The rules would apply to people who work for the D.C. government.

"The majority of Federal employees may participate actively in most partisan political activities, except for using their official authority or influence to interfere with, or affect the result of an election; running for public office in a partisan campaign; soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions; and, participating in political activities while on duty, on Federal premises, in uniform, or using a Government owned or leased vehicle," the agency wrote.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Appliances: The Department of Energy is coming out with new conservation standards for a handful of household appliances.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced new rules Friday for commercial heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, water heating and refrigerators under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. 

The new certification rules are intended to make sure manufacturers of these products are complying with applicable energy conservation standards by reporting accurate ratings.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Privacy: The inspector general of the Department of Defense is moving forward with new privacy rules.

The new rules under the Privacy and Civil Liberties Complaint Reporting System would protect whistleblowers and national security information, the agency announced Friday.

"Disclosures can subject sources and witnesses to harassment or intimidation, which may cause individuals not to seek redress for wrongs through privacy and civil liberties channels for fear of retribution or harassment," the DOD warned.

The rule goes into effect in 70 days.

Air: The Environmental Protection Agency is correcting minor errors made in the air quality standards in fourteen states.

The states that are affected by the rule include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The changes go into effect in 90 days.

Pot: The Drug Enforcement Administration is raising the production quota for marijuana that is ordered by the federal government. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse produces marijuana for the purpose of research. The DEA is giving the agency permission to produce up to 600 kilograms of marijuana this year.

"The aggregate production quota for marijuana should be increased in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply of marijuana in support of DEA-registered researchers who are approved by the federal government to utilize marijuana in their research protocols," the agency wrote.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

Lasers: The Food and Drug Administration is issuing draft guidance for the manufacturers of certain types of lasers that are used in 3D printing.

The guidance would cover lasers that are used for surveying, leveling, or alignment.

LGBT Housing: The Department of Housing and Urban Development is extending the comment period on a study that looks at housing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 

This is part of a larger HUD study on housing discrimination.

HUD said it is extending the comment period by 30 days.

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