OVERNIGHT REGULATION: LGBT groups cheer administration moves

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, you're daily rundown of rules from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington, and we’re ready for Congress to come back to town. Here are some of the biggest headlines from Congress and the federal agencies.

 

THE BIG STORY

Transgender groups are praising the Obama administration for several recent moves promoting equality.

The Defense Department could soon take action to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is moving to protect transgender people in homeless shelters.

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"The Obama administration is second to none on transgender equality,” Vincent Villano, spokesman for the National Center for Transgender Equality, tells The Hill.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signaled over the weekend that he is open to reviewing the military’s ban on transgender soldiers. The White House backed him up on Monday. http://bit.ly/1EncaI5

This isn’t the first time the administration has floated such a policy change. Last May, then Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelAlmost 100 former officials, members of Congress urge Senate action on election security GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel White House aide moves to lobbying firm MORE suggested the policy should be reviewed, but little action has occurred since then. So Carter’s comments give new momentum to the issue.

“It’s the ban itself that’s compromising military readiness by wasting talent and making it harder for commanders to take care of their troops,” said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center. 

The Human Rights Campaign pointed to a study that estimates more than 15,000 transgender people are currently secretly serving in the military.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration's move to protect transgender homeless people is also receiving high marks from gay rights groups. http://bit.ly/1BILLVd

HUD declared last week that it would require homeless shelters that receive federal funding to allow transgender people to sleep in the same room as the gender that they identify with.

“Previously, the shelters would force transgender people to house with the wrong gender,” said Robin Maril, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign. 

“You can imagine being the only woman in an all men’s shelter is terrifying and can lead to physical and sexual assault,” she added.

This comes as the State Department says it will step up efforts to overturn laws in other countries that make it a crime to be gay. http://bit.ly/1DOpx3p

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a full committee hearing to discuss a report from the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education on the regulation of colleges and universities. http://1.usa.gov/1DKhEgT

The House Rules Committee will meet to mark up the Student Success Act, which would reform No Child Left Behind and replace the high-stakes tests with state-led accountability systems. http://1.usa.gov/1BdQ3Eo 

The Agriculture Department will hold a meeting to discuss the work of the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration to improve identifying the sources of foodborne illnesses.http://1.usa.gov/1B5cI4b

The Transportation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration will meet with its Transport Airplane and Engine Subcommittee of the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee to discuss transport airplane and engine issues. http://1.usa.gov/18fXZsk

The Energy Department will hold a webinar to review the Engineered High Energy Crop Program’s draft programmatic environmental impact statement for crops that are specifically engineered to increase energy production. http://bit.ly/1BdUQWo

 

TOMORROW’S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 232 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register.

Here’s what to watch:

—The Department of Energy (DOE) will move forward with new energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers, because they are “unlikely” to have a negative impact on consumers. http://bit.ly/1w3UABP

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy published an energy-savings rule last June for these appliances.

In support of the rule, the DOE will release the results of a review recently completed by the Department of Justice that finds the energy conservation standards will not limit competition in the market by reducing consumer choice or placing certain manufacturers at an “unjustified competitive disadvantage.”

This paves the way for the Energy Department to move forward with the rule.

“Based on this review, our conclusion is that the proposed energy conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers are unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on competition,” the DOJ writes.

—The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will greenlight a new reliability standard for forecasting energy demand.

FERC will approve the reliability standard developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which would provide energy demand planners and operators with access to the forecasts.

The changes go into effect in 60 days. http://bit.ly/1zbbqza

—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will develop new recommendations for eating fish.

The draft guidance would apply to women who are pregnant or nursing young children. They would be advised about how much and what types of fish to eat.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1DLy74y

—The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will propose new guidelines to prevent nuclear facilities from suffering a catastrophic meltdown along the lines of what happened in Fukushima, Japan several years ago.

The draft guidance will evaluate nuclear facilities’ compliances with certain regulatory requirements and examines potential accident sequences that could be caused by natural phenomena.

The public has 45 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1zAyBUz

—The Department of Defense (DOD) will propose establishing a National Language Service Corps that federal agencies could take advantage of in emergency situations when they need help translating.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/17rM21E

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

LGBT rights: The State Department has appointed its first special envoy to promote LGBT rights globally. http://bit.ly/1DOpx3p

Financial advisers: President Obama is moving forward with regulations to crack down on financial advisers. http://bit.ly/1vsWIrS

Transgender soldiers: The White House backed Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s remarks that transgender people should not be precluded from military service.http://bit.ly/1A1wpoa

Whistleblowers: The Department of Justice needs to do a better job of handling whistleblower complaints in the Federal Bureau of Investigations, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. http://bit.ly/17OxPM4

Immigration order: The Justice Department on Monday asked for an emergency court ruling that would allow President Obama's immigration action to go forward. http://bit.ly/1JDSRi0

Academy-award winner: And the Oscar goes to... an HBO documentary on the Veterans Affairs Department's efforts to stop veterans from committing suicide. http://bit.ly/1zb5w0P

Banking reforms: The Senate Banking Committee is expected to hold a hearing next week to discuss reforming the Federal Reserve, Reuters reported. http://reut.rs/1vsZyNw

Marijuana: Pot activists protested outside the office of Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) on Monday, the Huffington Post reported. http://huff.to/1EJq2KN

 

BY THE NUMBERS

76: The number of countries that criminalize same-sex conduct.

10: The number of countries where same-sex conduct is punishable by the death penalty.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

 “Too often, in too many countries, LGBT persons are threatened, jailed, and prosecuted because of who they are or who they love,” Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryKrystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage Krystal Ball: Biden's new ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats MORE said in a statement announcing the appointment of Randy Berry as the first special envoy for the human rights of LGBTs.

 

We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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