President Obama announces executive actions aimed at strengthening gun control measures, the U.S. House passes dual regulatory bills, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- President Obama announced a series of executive actions aimed at stemming the tide of gun violence, including: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATS) final rule mandating that all gun-business owners conduct thorough background checks of prospective gun buyers; the U.S. Social Security Administration’s (SSA) planned rule that would require including information in the background check system about individuals barred from gun ownership due to mental health issues; and the President’s recently-issued directions to the U.S. Departments of Defense (DOD), Justice (DOJ), and Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct research on gun safety technology.
- In a bid to reign in what congressional Republicans view as burdensome regulations, U.S. House Republicans passed the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act, which would establish a commission tasked with identifying and reviewing rules that should be repealed in order to reduce regulatory costs, and the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, aimed at curbing “sue-and-settle deals”—settlements arising from lawsuits brought by interest groups against federal agencies in an effort to force the agencies’ hand concerning pending rules.
- Democrat Jim Kenney, previously a longtime member of the Philadelphia City Council, was sworn in as the City’s 99th mayor, declaring during his inauguration ceremony that “the vision that will guide [his] administration is that city government should first and foremost deliver efficient, effective services to every single Philadelphian,” and emphasizing the high priority that he plans to place on issues surrounding poverty, gentrification, and the implementation of universal pre-K, among other objectives.
- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated a lawsuit against Volkswagen in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleging that the car company used technology on several vehicle models that released more oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions than permitted under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) emissions standards and allegedly received EPA certification for vehicles using inaccurate statements about their design.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans—guidelines updated every five years for health professionals and policymakers charged with developing food and nutrition programs—and that include a slew of changes, including the controversial removal of the limit on dietary cholesterol recommendations, as well as a recommendation that Americans consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugars—a target that reportedly would require that people reduce their daily sugar intake by almost 50 percent.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) stated that the public can soon submit comments about their recently published preliminary risk assessments of the insecticide, imidacloprid, in which the agencies found that insecticide levels above 25 ppb—a level exceeded on cotton and citrus crops—kill pollinators including bees and lower the amount of honey created.
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- Former U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) head Ann Brown argued in The Washington Post that President Barack Obama should introduce laws permitting the CPSC to regulate gun ammunition. According to Brown, ammunition regulations, such as laws that require individuals to obtain licenses before buying bullets, would not face the same challenges under the Second Amendment and from public opposition as guns. Brown also stated that CPSC regulations would allow for a “flexible approach” like the agency currently uses for other products.
- Devin Henry outlined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that “will face serious challenges [this] year” in The Hill. While courts are expected to consider the EPA’s rules that regulate power plant emissions and define its authority to regulate the “waters of the United States,” Henry argued that Republican members of Congress are likely to object to the EPA’s regulations of ozone, and oil and gas methane emissions.