New regs for Thursday: Wage garnishment, hazardous materials, nuclear exports

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for wage garnishment for people who do not pay money they own to the Postal Service, mortgage assistance for homeowners to help them avoid foreclosure, and reimbursement measures for the clean up costs surrounding Hurricane Sandy.

Here's what is happening:

Fines: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is moving forward with a new rule blocking businesses and people who do not pay fines assessed by the agency from operating in the industry until they do.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

USPS: The U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with a new rule that would allow the federal government to garnish the wages of people who owe the USPS money.

The wage garnishment rule would apply to private sector workers, but it does not cover federal government workers, the USPS noted.

A similar wage garnishment rule by the Environmental Protection Agency drew much criticism, prompting the EPA to eventually back off a version of the rule. However, the USPS rule has flown under the radar and did not receive any comments during the public review process.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

Mortgage assistance: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is doing away with a Dodd-Frank program that helped struggling homeowners pay their mortgages and avoid foreclosure.

The Dodd-Frank financial reforms provided HUD with $1 billion to help struggling homeowners who suddenly lost their jobs with emergency mortgage assistance until they could get back on their feet. But the program has expired, and HUD is removing the regulations that governed it.

The changes go into effect in 30 days.

Nukes: The Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security is moving forward with new export regulations for nuclear materials, the agency announced Wednesday.

The rules go into effect immediately.

Hurricane Sandy: FEMA is moving forward with a program to reimburse state and local governments for the money it costs to clean up after Hurricane Sandy, the agency said Wednesday.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

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