New regs for Tuesday: Ship accessibility rule

Ships:
Guidelines for making ferries, cruise ships and other passenger ships accessible to people with disabilities are going to be proposed, 15 years after work on the rules first began. 

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The U.S. Access Board, a little-known agency that works to ensure vehicles and equipment can be used by people with disabilities, has been developing the proposal since 1998. In that time, it has issued two sets of draft guidelines and created two committees. 

The new guidelines cover ferries with 100 or more passengers, transport vessels called tenders with 60 or more passengers and other boats that carry more than 150 passengers.

Crop insurance:
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is finalizing a set of crop insurance provisions to combine information and reduce the amount of documents for insured farmers and insurance providers. 

"This will reduce the amount of information producers must read to determine the best risk management tool for their operation and will improve the provisions to better meet the needs of insureds," the agency said in its rule.

The rule is expected to cost agriculture producers and insurance providers a combined $1.48 million, though it will save the government more than $700,000 in administering the crop insurance program and increase efficiency by eliminating numerous forms.

The changes apply for 2014 and subsequent years.

Car assessment:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering updating its assessment program to give higher ratings to cars with rearview cameras. 

The change comes after, and is separate from, a decision to further delay a regulation mandating the cameras on new cars, for which consumer groups have long advocated. Legislators and safety advocates lambasted that decision to delay the requirement.

The assessment program was last updated for 2011 vehicles to recommend technologies that avoid crashes

Gambling:
The National Indian Gaming Commission is considering changing the way it classifies "one touch bingo" games in which a gambler plays by pressing a button on a gaming machine. 

The games are currently considered Class III games like lotteries and casino games, which garner more federal attention than Class II games like traditional bingo. The commission is considering giving the games a Class II designation.

Endangered species:
An Argentine population of broad-snouted caiman, a crocodile-like reptile, is being declared threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The species was formerly considered endangered globally. Populations of the animal in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay will remain endeared.

"Intense management of the species in Argentina has brought the Argentine [distinct population segment] to the point where a change in status is appropriate," the Fish and Wildlife Service asserted in its rule. 

Financial:
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is finalizing a rule on limits for a financial institution's lending. 

The National Credit Union Administration is amending its rule on loan participation to clarify how it is used. 

Defense acquisition:
The Defense Department is amending its acquisition rules to simplify some provisions. 

Housing standards:
The Energy Department is asking the public for information as part of its work to develop energy standards for manufactured housing

Environment:
The Environmental Protection Agency is changing its regulations to reflect a regional office's new address

The agency is also reopening the public comment period for mercury emissions standards for coal and oil power plants

Nuclear energy:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is modifying its regulations on spent fuel storage to change rules on a type of cask storage.

Drug tests:
The Federal Transit Administration is updating portions of its drug and alcohol testing rules to comply with recent changes in the law.