Overnight Regulation: Feds try to make college more accessible for ex-convicts

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington, where lawmakers are returning after a weeklong recess. Also, coming back tomorrow: Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP frets about Trump's poll numbers GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers GOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias MORE after his presidential bid.

Here's what else is happening. 



The Obama administration is trying to make it easier for ex-convicts to go to college.

The U.S. Department of Education released a resource guide Monday to give colleges and universities alternatives to asking about criminal history on college applications, questions that have been shown to prevent an estimated 70 million citizens from pursing higher education.


"We believe in second chances and we believe in fairness," Secretary of Education John King, Jr. said in a statement. "The college admissions process shouldn't serve as a roadblock to opportunity, but should serve as a gateway to unlocking untapped potential of students."

King made Monday's announcement while visiting the University of California at Los Angeles. Schools in the University of California system do not inquire about criminal history on their admissions applications.

The government's resource guide, "Beyond the Box: Increasing Access to Higher Education for Justice-Involved Individuals," recommends colleges and universities wait until after an admission decision has been made to ask about an applicant's criminal record.

Schools are also advised to tell students as early as possible in the application process how to respond to such questions. Schools are also asked to tailor narrow questions to avoid overly broad requests.

In addition to giving all prospective students the opportunity to explain their criminal records, the administration is recommending that schools provide admissions personnel and counselors with training on how to effectively handle criminal history information.

"Too many Americans are denied opportunities to lead fulfilling and productive lives because of a past arrest or conviction -- including opportunities to access a quality education," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "Expanding access to higher education for justice-involved individuals can help them step out of the shadow of their pasts and embark on the path to a brighter future." 

The Education Department, which said campus safety is paramount in this process, will work with the Justice Department to help schools ensure a safe learning environment while also opening educational opportunities to ex-convicts.

The resource guide includes recommendations on how institutions might consider campus safety and applicants' criminal justice history without unduly discouraging or rejecting otherwise-qualified candidates.



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The House Rules Committee will hold a hearing to mark up legislation to tackle opioid abuse http://1.usa.gov/1OcfYDl



The Obama administration will publish 214 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

--The Department of Education will issue new academic achievement guidelines for migrant students.

The Migrant Student Information Exchange would help "facilitate timely school enrollment, grade and course placement, accrual of secondary course credits, and participation...for migratory children," the agency says.

The new rules go into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1ZyjOYb

--The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will consider new protections for gopher tortoises.

The FWS is proposing a conservation strategy that would allow the Defense Department to earn conservation credits to offset the negative impact military bases and operations have on gopher tortoise habitats.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1T1E8NQ

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will conduct a regulatory review to lay the groundwork for removing potentially unnecessary and overly burdensome regulations.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1T1E9kL



DOJ files lawsuit against North Carolina bathroom law. http://bit.ly/1TynHbn

DOJ: 'Psychics' scammed people out of $180M. http://bit.ly/1q9MpXy

Uber, Lyft leaving Austin after ballot measure on background checks passes. http://bit.ly/1s8v8zZ

The smoke and mirrors of tobacco regulations (Newsweek). http://bit.ly/1QWKImc

Regs add $84,671 to new home prices (Washington Free Beacon). http://bit.ly/1WjYveG

Pension chief warns of 'very difficult' cuts after Treasury rejection. http://bit.ly/1QWKjAi

Conservative groups target ozone law in push for rule's rollback. http://bit.ly/278HuYU

FCC approves proposed limits to government robocalls. http://bit.ly/1SZCvUj



$180M: Amount a ring of fraudulent psychics allegedly swindled from Americans.

1M: Number of Americans allegedly scammed by these psychics.

The Justice Department said Monday it was shutting down what it called an international ring of fraudulent psychics. http://bit.ly/1q9MpXy



"As someone who earned a two-year college degree in prison, I know firsthand the value of providing educational access to those who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated," said Glenn Martin, the founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, a group working to cut the U.S. prison population in half by 2030.

The Obama administration unveiled guidelines Monday to make higher education more accessible to ex-convicts. http://bit.ly/1YiptkR


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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