New regs for Wednesday: USDA publishes 'puppy mill' rule

Puppy mills:
The Department of Agriculture is publishing its regulation to add new restrictions on breeders and pet stores that operate online.

The rule, designed to wipe out abusive puppy mills, which animal activists say have proliferated online in the absence of public oversight, will make sure those stores are inspected and licensed by federal regulators.

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“These actions are necessary so that all animals sold at retail for use as pets are monitored for their health and humane treatment,” the department declared in its rule.

Animal welfare advocates have cheered the rule, which was first announced last week, and pet store owners have agreed that the extra scrutiny will help assure pet owners that the animals they buy are well cared for. 

Now that the regulation has been published, the rule will go into effect in 60 days. 

Education:
The Department of Education is proposing to amend its rules that govern how it gives states money to support students with disabilities.

According to the department’s published notice, the changes would “clarify” current rules and address problems states are having with a current requirement. 

Additionally, the department is planning to fund a technical assistance coordination center and a project for people with disabilities beyond five years, which regulations would normally prohibit. 

Internet:
The Federal Trade Commission is asking the public to comment on new guidelines governing how websites should post privacy policies and obtain parental consent when their children go online.

The commission is asking six questions about the guidelines, submitted by the Samet Privacy company, to determine whether to approve the proposal. 

Social Security:
The Social Security Administration is freezing the monthly threshold above which people are required to pay more for Medicare Part B, which covers medical supplies and physician visits.

The Affordable Care Act called for the agency to freeze the level, which previously rose each year. 

Additionally, the rule eliminates the requirement that Social Security beneficiaries sign off before the agency transfers their tax information from the IRS to the Department of Health and Human Services to resolve any disputes over premium subsidies.

Finance:
The regulatory board that oversees credit unions is trying to make sure that federal credit unions understand its rules on property ownership.

The new regulation from the National Credit Union Administration “does not make any substantive changes to those regulatory requirements,” it said, but clarifies how credit unions can purchase and manage property to conduct its business. 

Chemicals:
The Environmental Protection Agency is setting limits for residues of the insecticide chlorantraniliprole on certain grains and the pesticide quinoxyfen on some berries and fruits. 

The EPA is also creating an exemption from its rules for another chemical when used as an inactive ingredient in a pesticide and denying protests from a chemical company for revoking limits for the difenzoquat pesticide.

Fishing:
National commercial fishing regulators are halting catching of shortraker rockfish in the Bering Sea to prevent overfishing. 

Regulators are also asking for comments about potential changes to rules for fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic. Other proposals would set catch limits for mackerel in the Pacific and give the public more time to comment on potential new rules for managing fishing of bluefin tuna