New regs for Tuesday: Telemarketing payment

Telemarketers and salespeople would be prevented from accepting a series of payment methods under a proposal from the Federal Trade Commission.

The agency's draft rule, which is the latest in its efforts to protect consumers from overly aggressive and fraudulent telemarketers, would prevent sellers from receiving checks and payment orders created remotely as well as other forms of payment. It would also allow consumers to recover losses in more cases.

"These proposed amendments reflect evolutions in the marketplace toward the use of certain retail payment methods in fraud transactions and the growing expansion of recovery services to include losses incurred in non-telemarketing transactions," the commission said in its proposal.

Federal building standards:
The Energy Department is updating standards for new federal buildings. 

Under the new rule, federal commercial and apartment buildings will have to meet an updated standard of energy efficiency, as determined by an association of engineers.

The standard will apply to buildings that begin designing construction on or after July 9, 2014.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is issuing new provisions for Medicaid eligibility, as called for under the Affordable Care Act.

The new 606-page rule also changes eligibility notices for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program and issues standards for Medicaid benefits packages "to ensure that these benefit packages include essential health benefits and meet certain other minimum standards."

Another portion of the rule affects the private health insurance exchanges, including new standards for representatives on the market and criteria for determining that insurance acquired through a workplace meets minimum standards.

New rules are being adopted to implement a more rigorous certification plan for tuna products that boast a "dolphin safe" label. 

The new standards from the National Marine Fisheries Service will impose new storage requirements for tuna and stipulations for reporting the tracking of tuna canning and processing.

New rules from the Department of Agriculture will define terms to exempt from expanded protections of plant species.

The new protections, passed by Congress, exclude "common cultivar" and "common food crop" but the legislation did not define the terms. 

The USDA is also changing the delegation of authority for a number of roles in the department. The new rule removes old regulatory functions for collecting claims and other obsolete roles. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reminding telecom companies that they need to verify the eligibility of people who take part in a program that helps poor Americans get phone service. 

The program, called Lifeline, helps consumers call families and be able to reach emergency services.

Additionally, the FCC is asking the public to weigh in on rules requiring broadcast TV stations to post political files online. 

Endangered species:
The Fish and Wildlife Service is declaring six invertebrates in Texas endangered, including type of snails, and designating critical habitat for the species. 

The agency is also accepting new comments and extending its period to determine whether or not the lesser prairie chicken, a grouse-like bird, should be considered threatened. 

Violence against women:
The Justice Department is removing regulations for a grant program aimed at stopping violence against Native American women because the grants no longer exist. 

The National Credit Union Administration is pushing back the effective date of a rule on loan participation by two months. 

Auto thefts:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is publishing data about thefts of passenger automobiles in 2011, as the agency is required to do. According to the agency, the data show that the theft rate "significantly decreased" from 2010.