Overnight Regulation: Food workers win whistleblower protections

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington.

Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORY

The Obama administration will issue new whistleblower protections for employees in the food industry.

Food workers who report corporate wrongdoing will be protected from retaliation by their employers under new rules from the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

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That means they cannot be fired or disciplined for disclosing information about food safety violations that are critical of the companies for which they work.

The whistleblower protections will extend to employees of companies that "manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold or import food," the agency notes.

The Labor Department says these whistleblower protections are essential to ensuring the nation's food safety and security.

OSHA also enforces whistleblower protections in other industries, such as healthcare, environment, motor vehicles, airlines, and public transportation. http://bit.ly/1VyrUlD

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY 

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing to review the recent changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's silica standards. http://1.usa.gov/265Nbq3

The Small Business Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the administration's proposed retirement regulation. http://1.usa.gov/1SVu4oT

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold a hearing on the costs of the administration's immigration policies. http://1.usa.gov/1SOuop1

The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the recent changes to designating and implementing endangered species critical habitats. http://1.usa.gov/1SnVztL

The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to discuss how to prevent drug trafficking through international mail. http://1.usa.gov/1Veoqo2

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 158 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue new rules for handling donated foods.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service's new distribution and storage requirements for federally donated foods would apply to state agencies.

The new rules go into effect in 60 days. http://bit.ly/1XF9i0G

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will propose new eligibility requirements for viewing classified materials, such as nuclear information.

The eligibility requirements would govern who has access to "special nuclear material," such as information about plutonium and enriched uranium.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1SVuD1K

--The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will delay new rules that would weaken the protections for certain endangered caribou.

The FWS proposed to downgrade the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou to a threatened species in May 2014. The agency is now reopening the comment period to give the public more time to consider the changes.

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

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW 

Court appears divided, signaling trouble for Obama on immigration http://bit.ly/1NjjuLM

Americans who travel without passports face new fines http://bit.ly/1YDvmce

Ovens facing new efficiency standards http://bit.ly/1qCohNZ

Airbnb deal with union would pay house cleaners $15 an hour – The Washington Post http://wapo.st/1XF9D3s

Flint crisis lawsuits face high hurdles – Reuters http://reut.rs/1SoI7c4

On crime bill and Clintons, young blacks clash with parents – The New York Times http://nyti.ms/1U353gn

 

BY THE NUMBERS

5M: Illegal immigrants granted deferred deportations by the Obama administration.

26: States challenging President Obama's immigration order.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"Not one more worker should have to die from silica due to politics. Yet in spite of the innumerable benefits of safeguarding workers from silicosis and other deadly silica-related hazards, House Republicans and industry lobbyists are attacking this lifesaving rule," Emily Gardner, a worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen's Congress Watch Division. A House panel will hold a hearing on OSHA's new silica rule. http://1.usa.gov/265Nbq3

 

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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