New regs for Tuesday: Contractor hiring rules published

Affirmative action:
The Labor Department is formally publishing its regulation requiring government contractors to make a more concerted effort to hire veterans and people with disabilities.

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The new rules require contractors to set benchmark numbers of veterans and people with disabilities to hire, and are meant to reduce barriers for those people to enter the workforce. 

Business groups and Republicans have been swift with their criticisms of the new regulations.

A House subcommittee is planning to probe the regulations in October.

ObamaCare:
The Obama administration has released the framework for an initiative to offer basic health insurance to people who cannot afford to shop on new state-based marketplaces. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the 119-page proposal for its “Basic Health Plan” Friday afternoon. The plan will be available for Americans and immigrants in the country legally, who are not eligible for Medicaid but also can’t afford insurance on their own. 

Medical devices:
The Food and Drug Administration has finalized a rule to create a national system to identify, track medical devices and recall medical products.

Under the regulation, all device makes and models will be given a unique number, and the agency will set up a publicly searchable database. 

The rule was announced Friday but will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. Portions of the regulation will become effective over the next 30 to 90 days. 

Energy:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is approving changes to its reliability standards and proposing to approve even more. 

Transportation:
The Federal Railroad Administration is settling on regulations for the number of hours railroad employees can work while training and how long signal employees can operate motor vehicles. 

Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is making “technical corrections” throughout its rules to correct errors and omissions and make the regulations more clear.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is also proposing new restrictions for people who do not pay penalties for violating hazardous materials regulations.

Protected species:
The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that there is “substantial scientific and commercial information” indicating that ten sturgeon species should be added to the Endangered Species List. The agency will formally review status of the fish and study whether to add them. 

Additionally, the wildlife agency is proposing to allow hunting and fishing at six wildlife refuges and increase the number of activities allowed at other sanctuaries.