New regs for Thursday: Dairy fees going up


The U.S. Department of Agriculture's program is voluntary for dairy farmers, and is funded entirely through user fees.

Though new technologies have made the service better, "additional changes in operations that enhanced efficiencies, and reduced employee numbers, increases in salaries, technology investments, and general inflation have more than offset savings resulting in the need to increase fees," the agency asserted in its rule.

In 2011, the program cost $0.0026 per pound to dairy producers. The department estimates that the fee increase will result in a cost increase of less than a $0.0004 per pound.

Tobacco and alcohol:
The Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is extending the duration of permits to import tobacco from three to five years.

The agency believes that it can be more efficient with the longer permits and decrease the burden on the tobacco industry. 

A temporary new rule will be effective immediately while a proposal from the agency, also scheduled to be published on Thursday, makes its way through the regulatory system. 

Additionally, the bureau is proposing to change its rules for denatured alcohol, which are spirits that have been treated to be undrinkable. The spirits are often used for industrial purposes.

The change in rules would take outdated formulas off the books and replace them with new formulas. 

Medicare and Medicaid:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is changing requirements for nursing facilities to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.  

The new regulations will make sure that long-term care facilities that try to arrange hospice care with a certified provider have a written agreement in pace.

According to the agency, the new rule will "improve quality and consistency of care between hospices and [long-term care] facilities in the provision of hospice care to [long-term care] residents."

Native American tribes:
The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs is trying to improve the process for acknowledging tribes. The agency is gathering comments from the public and holding a series of meetings.

The Treasury Department is changing its sanctions rules to clarify the financial restrictions that are triggered on a sanctioned person.

The Environmental Protection Agency is changing its rules on pesticide permits to remove exemptions for use of pesticides on or near the water.

The regulation is in response to a 2009 appeals court ruling. 

The White House's Office of Management and Budget has approved revisions to the Federal Communications Commission's information collection regulations. 

Social Security hearings:
The Social Security Administration wants to change its rules for hearings in order "to protect the integrity of our programs and preserve limited resources."