Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s twenty-first regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.
1) Video of the Week: This weeks video highlights the ways in which stringent local regulations hamper growth and development. One San Francisco resident, Bob Tillman, has spent 5 years and over $1 million trying to build low-rent apartments above his laundromat. Through a long series of applications and hearings, Tillman has repeatedly been boondoggled by burdensome regulations designed specifically to prevent innovation and development. Watch what happens when local governments decide to centrally control everything about their city in this weeks video from ReasonTV.
2) Interior removes controversial proposed change from final FOIA rule: “The Interior Department has removed heavily criticized language from the final version of its public records rule that some worried would give officials too much leniency in withholding documents. The final iteration of the department’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulation issued Friday removes several proposed language changes that government watchdog groups argued would place an unlawful burden on public records seekers and offered the agency broader authority to reject requests that didn’t fit the more narrow request format.”
3) USDA’s hemp rules open door to states to set up regulations: “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday his department was opening "a new economic opportunity for America’s farmers” with the issuance of long-awaited rules governing legal hemp production and a path for state and tribal governments to submit regulatory plans for review. The USDA is setting the minimum rules, allowing states to impose more restrictive requirements. One official said the department would "test drive" the interim rule in the 2020 growing season and then adopt a final rule.”
4) Trump to pick Texas cancer doctor to head FDA: “President Donald Trump on Friday will nominate Stephen Hahn, a well-regarded cancer specialist and hospital administrator, to lead the FDA, two people familiar with the decision told POLITICO. If confirmed by the Senate, the top FDA post would mark Hahn’s first foray into public service in a quarter of a century. He was chairman of the radiation oncology department at the University of Pennsylvania medical school for nine years until 2015, when he joined MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and rose to chief medical executive last year.”
5) CDC Says Vaping-Related Lung Injuries Overwhelmingly Involve Black-Market THC Products, but It’s Still Warning People to Avoid E-Cigarettes: “The CDC implicitly acknowledges as much. "If you are an adult using e-cigarettes, or vaping, products, to quit smoking," it says, "do not return to smoking cigarettes." Yet the CDC’s muddled messaging, including the unfounded insinuation that legal e-cigarettes might be deadly, continues to obscure the crucial point that they are much less dangerous than the conventional combustible kind.”
6) Education Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements: “The Education Department on Thursday finalized rules to loosen standards for the college accreditation process, drawing criticism from Democrats. The new rules, which The Washington Post first reported, will go into effect next July. Under the new system, schools with problems that endanger their accreditation will have four years, up from two, to address issues, while accreditation agencies will no longer be required to inform students of said issues.”
7) Outgoing DHS chief McAleenan will stay on ‘if necessary’: “A day before he was set to step down as acting Homeland Security secretary, Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday that he would stay on the job “if necessary” since the White House has yet to tap his successor. “I said in my resignation letter to the president that I would ensure a smooth transition and that remains my position. I want to make sure that it happens for the department,” he told lawmakers during a House Homeland Security Committee meeting.”