Overnight Regulation: Federal prisons want to increase use of restraints | EPA moves ahead on water rule repeal

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Wednesday night, where the Senate is on the verge of a vote-a-rama to try to repeal ObamaCare.

 

THE BIG STORY

The Bureau of Prisons is planning to propose a new rule to expand the use of restraints on inmates.

The plans were part of the agency's rulemaking priorities announced in the Trump administration's first Unified Regulatory Agenda released last week. Nothing has formally been proposed yet.

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According to the regulatory agenda notice, the bureau will propose a rule to "permit the use of restraint equipment or devices to secure an inmate to a fixed object to facilitate participation in education, treatment, recreation, or religious programs."

What does it mean: In its notice, the Bureau of Prisons said the rule change "will clarify that the use of restraints in this manner to facilitate programming is not considered a use of force," and that it should be the least restrictive necessary to prevent injuries to prisoners or staff, and to reduce property damage.

Reactions mixed: The American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) National Prison Project said the increased use of restraint desks could prove to be a decent way to let prisoners who would otherwise be in solitary participate in prison programs. But the devil is in the details.

Lydia Wheeler has more here.

 

ON TAP FOR THURSDAY

The Senate is likely to begin its "vote-a-rama" on ObamaCare repeal

The House Judiciary subcommittee on regulatory reform will hold a hearing on "antitrust concerns and the FDA approval process" at 1 p.m.

The House Oversight subcommittee on national security will hold a hearing on "combating homegrown terrorism" at 2 p.m.

 

REGULATORY ROUNDUP

Environment: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comments on its proposal to repeal the Obama administration's controversial water pollution rule.

The 2015 rule extended federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to small bodies of water like headwaters, wetlands and some ponds. It never took effect because it was put on hold by a federal court.

Environmentalists and Obama supporters charged that the rollback would threaten drinking water for 117 million people.

EPA's proposal to undo the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule, is set to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday. Comments will be due Aug. 28

Timothy Cama has the story here.

 

Administration: Criminal justice reform advocates are pushing the Senate Judiciary Committee to more closely scrutinize President Trump's nominees to be U.S. attorneys.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Right on Crime, the R Street Institute and the American Conservative Union in a letter Wednesday asked Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe On The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China MORE (R-Iowa) for the second time to have members question nominees, either in writing or via confirmation hearings.

The groups want nominees to be asked about their prosecutorial philosophies on key issues, including sentencing, asset forfeiture and respecting the authority of the states.

The coalition originally made its request in a letter in March but never received a response.

Read Lydia Wheeler's story here.

 

Environment: Two Democratic senators on Wednesday pitched conservatives on legislation to establish a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Trump DOJ under fire over automaker probe The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks MORE (D-R.I.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told members of a conservative think tank their American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act was a proposal Republicans should be able to get behind due to its simplicity and the fact that the revenues would go back to taxpayers.

Carbon taxes have the support of a wide swath of Democrats to fight climate change. Among Republicans, it has been a favored approach for years among certain economists and academics but has gotten little support among policymakers, due mainly to opposition to raising energy prices, along with skepticism of climate change science.

Timothy Cama has more here.

 

Transportation: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require electronics larger than a cellphone to be X-rayed separately when passengers go through airport security, The Hill's Melanie Zanona reports.

The enhanced screening protocols for carry-on bags were already being tested at 10 airports, but will now be expanded to all airports in the U.S.

Passengers at U.S. airports will now be asked to place their large electronics, such as tablets, handheld game consoles and e-readers, into separate bins for X-ray screening. A similar policy already applies to laptops.

There haven't been any changes for carry-on bags.

Read Melanie's story here.

 

Administration: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy MORE on Wednesday signaled that he has been implementing recommendations from a task force on violent crime supported by President Trump.

Sessions said in a statement that he has been getting recommendations on a "rolling basis" from the task force that Trump directed him to establish earlier this year.

The Justice Department did not provide details on what recommendations the task force has provided.

Criminal justice reform advocates were expecting the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety to release a report on Thursday that they feared would link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking it.

Lydia Wheeler has the full story here.

 

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS

EPA announces plan to prioritize Superfund cleanup sites (Morning Consult)

Wyoming's coal investment goes to Washington (Casper Star Tribune)

Regulators warn cryptocurrency startup fundraisers to play by the rules (Wired)

California has too much pot, and growers won't be able to export the surplus (LA Times)

Hospitals face growing cybersecurity threats (NPR)

 

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