California enacts new restrictions on firearms, HHS proposes a rule to replace the term “paternity,” and more…
IN THE NEWS
- California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law banning people from carrying firearms in public places and raising taxes on guns and ammunition sold in the state. The first law bans people from carrying guns in public parks and playgrounds, banks, and “any other privately owned commercial establishment that is open to the public,” unless expressly allowed by the owner of the premises. The second law adds an 11 percent tax to the existing federal gun tax, effectively doubling it. The California Rifle and Pistol Association called the new laws “unconstitutional” and filed a preemptive lawsuit to stop them from taking effect.
- The Office of Child Support Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule to replace the term “paternity” with the gender-neutral term “parentage” throughout the Child Support Services Program. This proposed rule would allow states to establish child support orders against the parent responsible for child support, regardless of that parent’s gender or sexuality. The Office emphasized that this change is needed in light of the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling and the Respect for Marriage Act of 2022, asserting that the establishment of parentage under the law should be inclusive of all family structures.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposed a rule to modify its regulations related to veteran burial benefits to conform to recently enacted statutory standards. Under the proposed rule, the transportation benefit would cover the transportation of veterans’ remains to “covered veterans cemeteries.” The proposed rule would also expand the definition of eligible cemeteries to include both tribal-owned and state-owned cemeteries. Finally, the proposed rule would provide a single payable allowance for all non-service-connected burials, instead of having different allowances depending on the location of death.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began a rulemaking process to remove medical bills from credit reports. Until now, creditors used medical data in credit decisions even though research has shown that medical debt does not reflect a borrower’s ability to make repayments. The agency stated that the proposed changes will stop coercive debt-collecting practices and financially “empower” the nearly 20 percent of Americans who carry medical debt.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a final rule preventing the improper use of CHIPS Act funding, which aims to restore U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation by providing grants and loans. The rule prevents the funding from being used to directly or indirectly benefit countries “engaged in conduct that is detrimental to the national security or foreign policy of the United States.” The rule also limits the ability of beneficiaries to invest in new manufacturing in foreign countries of concern but allows those beneficiaries to continue operations in these countries under certain conditions. Beneficiaries that violate these conditions may be required to return their federal funding.
- The Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a final rule that will allow more schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a reimbursement option for schools to offer free meals to students without collecting household applications. Schools are eligible for CEP when they meet or exceed the established percentage of enrolled students who qualify for free school meals. The rule decreased this requirement from 40 percent of enrolled students to 25 percent. More schools will now be eligible to provide students with free, healthy meals.
- The Federal Trade Commission submitted notice of its request for public comment on a proposed modification of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020. The modification targets racehorse doping by banning iron dextran, a medication used to treat anemia. Although iron dextran increases red blood cell count, the drug causes anaphylaxis in horses as evidenced by a recent uptick in sudden horse deaths. With this modification, the agency seeks to prevent the “misuse and abuse” of horses.
- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would classify ethylphenidate, a central nervous system stimulant, as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs have a “high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment.” Based on reports from health professionals and law enforcement, the agency concluded that ethylphenidate—which produces a psychotropic effect similar to methylphenidate—has a high potential for abuse.
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- In a forthcoming article in Law and Contemporary Problems, Cristie Ford, a professor at the University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law, examined the disconnect between regulators and the regulated public. Ford named the focus on elite expertise over public input as a barrier to effective regulation. Instead of this approach, Ford maintained that regulatory actions must center on real people and their lived experiences. This shift, Ford argued, may repair the “bonds between state and all the people it is meant to serve.”
- In a report released by the Regulatory Studies Center at The George Washington University, Zhoudan Xie, a senior policy analyst at the Regulatory Studies Center, and Tara Sinclair, a professor at George Washington University and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Macroeconomics at the U.S. Department of Treasury, summarized recent research on regulatory uncertainty about future banking and finance regulations. Xie and Sinclair used natural language processing techniques to quantify the level of uncertainty reflected in newspaper articles covering finance from 1985 to the present. Although a recent run of bank failures contributed to some regulatory uncertainty, Xie and Sinclair stated that uncertainty was far higher in 2010 when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed. Xie and Sinclair predicted that the prospect of new financial reforms may once again spark regulatory uncertainty among the public.
- In a recent paper, Gianluca Biggi, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Economics at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and his coauthors explored the influence of state regulatory interventions and voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives on companies’ commitment to reducing food loss and waste (FLW). Biggi and his coauthors analyzed 150 company CSR and sustainability reports and found that companies with CSR initiatives are more likely to take initial steps to address FWL. Biggi and his coauthors further concluded, however, that additional state regulatory intervention is necessary for companies to develop more advanced FWL policies.
- In an essay in The Regulatory Review, Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, outlined important lessons Americans learned following the government shutdown in early 2019, including, among others, that the shutdown reduced young adults’ desire to pursue a career in government and that the federal government broke its promise to forgive student loan debt to those working in public service. Light argued that these lessons are instrumental in addressing the widening gap between public sector job openings and applications. In turn, Light urged the government to rebuild the civil service system to ensure that future generations will want to engage in public service.