New regs for Monday: Chemicals, small business, gifts

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for broadcasters, small businesses receiving federal financial assistance, chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, and foreign gifts received by government officials.

Here's what is happening:

Small business: The Small Business Administration (SBA) is considering redefining the size of a small business, in a move that would affect the eligibility of these companies for federal financial assistance.

The proposed rules would increase the size of wholesale and retail companies in 46 industries that are eligible for financial assistance. 

Meanwhile, the SBA is retaining the size standards for other industries.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Chemicals: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering new rules for hydraulic fracturing chemicals, the agency announced Friday.

In response to a petition from Earthjustice and more than a hundred other environmental groups, the EPA has agreed to review its existing testing requirements for chemical substances used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas exploration and production.

The rule would fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which Congress is currently trying to revise.

The public has 90 days to comment.

Testing: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving forward with new information collection requirements under the farm bill.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service announced the rule in January, and said Friday it has been approved by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Broadcast: The Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with new retransmission consent rules intended to boost competition among the four major broadcast stations.

The top four broadcasters in the U.S. include NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Gifts: The Office of Government Ethics is loosening the restrictions on gifts that government officials can receive. 

The agency announced Friday it is retrospectively raising the value of foreign gifts government officials can receive to $375, up from $350. Officials are required to report any gifts they receive that are worth more than this amount.

The rule will apply to gifts received between Jan. 1, 2014, through 2016, the agency said.

The rule goes into effect immediately.