New regs for Friday: Cuba, e-cigs, employer wellness programs

Friday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for defense acquisitions from Cuba, traveling with electronic smoking devices and employer wellness programs.

Here’s what is happening:

Cuba: The Department of Defense is formally removing Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Following President Obama’s call to repair relations with Cuba and in the footsteps of other federal agencies, the Defense Department’s Defense Acquisition Regulations System is removing restrictions it had placed on purchasing military equipment from Cuba.

The changes go into effect immediately.

Smoking: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will prohibit passengers and crew members from carrying e-cigarettes and similar electronic smoking devices in their checked bags while traveling.

The PHMSA is joining the Federal Aviation Administration in taking this step as a precautionary measure to prevent e-cigarettes from exploding or catching fire during transportation.

“The use of e-cigarettes has been rising substantially and e-cigarettes have increasingly become a common item in passenger baggage,” the agency wrote.

The new rules go into effect in seven days.

Healthcare: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is proposing new rules for employer wellness programs. 

The rules will affect employees whose spouses are on their healthcare plan.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Injurious fish: The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is placing new restrictions on the importation of 11 species of injurious fish that could either harm people or have a negative impact on agriculture.

The injurious fish include the crucian carp, Eurasian minnow, Prussian carp, roach, stone moroko, Nile perch, Amur sleeper, European perch, zander and wels catfish. 

The public has 60 days to comment.


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