New regs for Wednesday: Child welfare, wage garnishments, pesticides

Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for child welfare, wage garnishments, pesticides and animal food.

Here's what is happening:

Child welfare: The Department of Health and Human Services is considering changes to federal child welfare laws.

The agency's Children's Bureau announced Tuesday it is looking to overhaul the data indicators it uses to assess a state's compliance with child welfare laws and determine whether they are placing children with safe families.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Military: Through executive order, President Obama is expanding the eligibility of military officers who are eligible to receive the Defense Meritorious Service Medal to include members of foreign militaries.

The Defense Meritorious Service Medal was established in 1977 as the third-highest award bestowed on members of the military. The Obama administration announced Tuesday that, going forward, members of friendly foreign militaries will be eligible for this award.

Pesticide: The Environmental Protection Agency is considering allowing a new pesticide on farm products, upon a request from the company that makes the pesticide.

Syngenta Crop Protection is petitioning the EPA to allow residues of thiamethoxam in or on alfalfa, buckwheat, corn, grain, oats, rice, straw, soybeans, and other farm products.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Wage garnishment: The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is moving forward with a rule that will allow the agency to collect debts from people by requiring their employer to take money out of their paychecks and give it to the government. 

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board can require employers to withhold as much as 15 percent of an employee's disposable income to pay money that is owed to the agency. 

"Wage garnishment is a legal process whereby an employer withholds amounts from an employee's wages and pays those amounts to the employee's creditor in satisfaction of a withholding order," the agency wrote.

Before the agency had to get a court order to do this, but now it can do so on its own.

The rule goes into effect in one month.

Drug dealer: The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control is freezing the assets of another Mexican drug lord.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced Tuesday it is adding another name to the list of Mexican narcotics dealers that American banks cannot deal with, under the Kingpin Designation Act.

This comes after the agency froze the assets of five Mexican narcotics dealers and 10 of their companies on Monday.

National Parks: In honor of National Park Week, all National Parks will offer free admission this weekend, President Obama declared by executive order.

"This celebration opens opportunities to take in the majesty of canyons, redwoods, and geysers — to learn the history of Civil War battles and Civil Rights marches," President Obama wrote. "During National Park Week, I encourage Americans to take advantage of the chance to rediscover the great outdoors and reconnect with the American story."

Animal food: The Food and Drug Administration is considering a petition that would allow a new food additive for animals.

The petition from Excentials B.V. requests that the FDA allow for the safe use of L-selenomethionine, which would be used as a dietary source in poultry and swine feed.

The public has 30 days to comment.

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