New regs for Monday: Prison phone calls, nuclear fuel storage, small loans for farmers

Monday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for spying on prisoners, nuclear fuel storage, strollers and carriages, surgery devices, and small loans for farmers.

Here's what is happening:

Inmates: The Bureau of Prisons is reconsidering a rule that would allow guards to monitor inmate's telephone calls and read their mail in order to prevent terrorists attacks and other acts of violence.

The Prisons Bureau originally proposed the rule in 2010, but it was tied up in court litigation. The agency agreed to reopen the comment period for 15 days to allow inmates and others time to share their thoughts on the rule. The agency received more than 700 comments during the first comment period four years ago.

The Prisons Bureau says the rule would protect the public by ensuring that inmates don't communicate with other people who are not in jail and convince them to commit crimes. It would also help prevent inmates from threatening victims.

"Upon arrival at the designated CMU, inmates will receive written notice from the warden of the facility in which the CMU exists," the agency wrote.

Nuclear: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is moving forward with changes to its spent fuel storage regulations.

The NRC plans to update the regulations to allow for changes to the Transnuclear, Inc. Standardized NUHOMS Cask System. The changes would allow the manufacturer to add two new dry shielded canisters and other approved contents, including blended low enriched uranium fuel.

The rule goes into effect on May 24.

Strollers: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is moving forward with new safety standards to protect young children in carriages and strollers. 

The new safety standards come from the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, which required the CPSC to examine existing voluntary industry standards and determine what new rules are necessary for durable infant and toddler products.

The commission proposed the rule last May, and is now finalizing it. The rule goes into effect on Sept. 10, 2015.

VIN: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is moving forward with a new recall rule for manufacturers.

The NHTSA is establishing a VIN-look-up tool on its website to help consumers determine if their product has been recalled. The rule will require manufacturers to facilitate the secure electronic transfer of information about recall data when a customer submits their VIN information to the website.

The agency help a public meeting on Jan. 22 to discuss the rule, which goes into effect immediately.

FDA: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reclassifying a medical surgery device. The agency announced Friday it is moving the absorbable lung biopsy plug into class II, from where it was previously placed in class III. 

The FDA said this move would "provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device."

Loans: The Commodity Credit Corporation is moving forward with a rule that will make it easier for farmers to obtain small loans.

The agency announced Friday that it is raising the loan amount for which farmers will be required to employ additional security measures to $100,000 from $50,000. This is expected to save farmers money, because they will be able to get larger loans without having to pay additional money for security.

This existing rule only applies to loans that are secured with collateral which doesn't have a resale value, the agency said.

"The purpose of these amendments is to make the loan process easier for borrowers, especially producers who may not have additional security, but are unlikely to default on a relatively small loan," the agency wrote.