|Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
||Additional Certification Fees for Respirator Manufacturers
||The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule that would increase fees charged by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to respirator manufacturers for the examination and certifying of respirators. The current pricing system for respirator testing was established in 1972, and HHS estimates NIOSH spends up to $2.5 million approving certifications annually, while charging manufacturers up to $500,000 annually to the manufacturers, which doesn't allow the certification program to be self-sustaining. To close this gap, the proposal would overhaul the fee system to include new application, approval modification, maintenance, and site qualification fees, as well as alter the fee administration system. The agency estimates that approximately one-third of respirator manufacturers that will be affected by this proposed rule are classified as small businesses, and requests comment on how the proposed rule will affect small respirator manufacturers.
||5/28/2013-Click Here to Comment
|Department of Interior (DOI)
||New Fees for Coal Mining Industry
|The Department of Interior (DOI) has issued a proposed rule to adjust existing fees and establish new fees for coal mining and reclamation companies pertaining to the issuance and review of permits that allow coal mining on lands under
| DOI's jurisdiction in Tennessee, Washington and on Indian lands. The proposal would establish an annual fixed fee for permit holders based on geographic region, type of permit, mine site acreage, and the frequency of inspections, and would range from $1,300 for small support facilities to $96,000 for mining operations with more than 20,000 acres. DOI estimates 41 small businesses (25 active surface coal mining operations and 16 reclamation operations) businesses will be affected by the new fees, and requests comment on the expected impact of the proposed rule. |5/28/2013-Click Here to Comment
|Small Business Administration (SBA)
|Changes to Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contacting Program
|The SBA has published an interim final rule implementing a statutorily mandated provision that removes the limitation on the dollar amount of set-aside contracts that women-owned small businesses can compete for under the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program. Previously, contracting officers were limited in setting aside contracts under the WOSB Program to those with values not exceeding $6.5 million for manufacturing, and $4 million for all others. In FY2011, SBA awarded 3.97% of all contracts to WOSBs, short of its statutorily mandated goal of 5%. The removal of these limitations is expected to result in more contracts being awarded to WOSBs. The SBA seeks comment on the interim final rule before publishing the final rule.
||6/6/2013- Click Here to Comment
|Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Department of Labor (DOL)
||Wage Methodology for the Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment (H-2B) Program
|The DHS and the DOL have issued an interim final rule that changes the prevailing wage methodology used by the DOL to calculate certain prevailing wages paid to H-2B workers and U.S. workers recruited in connection with an H-2B Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The H-2B program allows non-agricultural employers facing a worker shortage to hire temporary unskilled workers from foreign countries. It is used by employers that cannot find United States workers to fill seasonal positions in the hotel, landscaping, restaurant, seafood harvesting and processing, forestry, golf course, and other industries. Under the new methodology, employers will be required to pay higher wages. The Departments estimate the total economic impact will be $371.82 million a year. The interim final rule is effective immediately and applies to all requests for prevailing wage determinations and applications for temporary labor certification in the H-2B program issued on or after the effective date of the interim rule. Upon individual notification to the employer of a new prevailing wage, the new wage methodology will also apply retroactively to all previously granted H-2B temporary labor certifications for any work performed on or after the effective date of this interim rule.
||6/10/2013- Click Here to Comment
||New Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Reader Requirements
||The Coast Guard has issued a proposed rule that would require owners and operators of higher-risk vessels and facilities to maintain and use electronic readers compatible with the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) system, used by the Coast Guard to control access points and for general maritime security purposes. Vessels with a TWIC-holding crew of 14 or less would be exempt from the requirement, but there is no exemption for facilities, of which the Coast Guard estimates 88 are considered small. It is estimated that the average costs will be $233,736 per facility during the implementation period and $6,186 per facility in annual recurring costs. The agency requests comments on virtually all aspects of the proposal, including its purpose, estimated cost, expected effect, rationale, and whether a crew size of 14 is an appropriate cut-off point for exempting a vessel from the requirements. A public meeting has been scheduled for April 18, 2013 in Arlington, VA which will allow interested parties to voice comments.
||6/20/2013-Click Here to Comment
|Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
||Expansion of the Lead Paint Rule
|The EPA has extended the comment deadline for interested parties to provide information and data on the presence of lead-based paint hazards in commercial and public buildings. The EPA is considering whether to extend its lead paint rules to cover renovation, repair, and painting activities in public and commercial buildings in a potential rulemaking. EPA's current lead paint rules requires contractors, remodelers, building owners and others, to be certified by EPA and follow certain work practice standards when undertaking renovation, repair and painting activities in homes and facilities that may have lead-based paint. To allow for additional data and comments from the public, the agency will hold a public meeting on June 26, 2013 at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
||7/12/2013-Click Here to Comment