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FCC Votes to Stop Phone Providers From Gouging Inmates

'The most egregious case of market failure I have ever seen'

(Newser) - Phone calls can cost inmates and their families up to $14 a minute, NBC News reports. But that changed Thursday when the FCC voted 3-2 to cap the rates and fees phone providers can charge for service in US prisons and jails, according to the Huffington Post . "Voting to... More »

Feds: Step Right Up, Register Your Drones

No, really: FAA setting up panel to determine which to regulate as more clog skies

(Newser) - The federal government will require many drones to be registered, a move prompted by the growing number of reported close calls and incidents that pose safety risks, officials announced Monday. Pilot sightings of drones have doubled since last year, including sightings near manned aircraft and major sporting events, and interference... More »

Don't Make Eatery Staff Wash Up After Bathroom: Senator

NC's Thom Tillis says if restaurants are transparent about practice, no big deal

(Newser) - Thom Tillis may be doing more baby-kissing and less hand-shaking after he recently expounded on whether restaurant workers should have to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before they go back to handle food. The freshman senator made his stance known at yesterday's Bipartisan Policy Center event... More »

The West Virginia Water Crisis Isn't a Fluke

Lax regulation puts much of America at risk, Angie Rosser argues

(Newser) - The West Virginia water crisis is almost over. Gov. Earl Tomblin today lifted the ban on tap water for some parts of the state, saying that officials wanted to bring the system back on slowly to avoid a flood of excessive demand. But environmental activist Angie Rosser at the Epoch ... More »

The Volcker Rule Is Here! Will It Work?

FDIC, Fed unanimously approve regulation banks have lobbied against

(Newser) - The FDIC and Federal Reserve both unanimously approved the long-debated Volcker Rule today, and three other regulatory agencies plan to before the day is out, making it official. The rule, named for and originally proposed by Paul Volcker, aims to ban proprietary trading, "or in plain English," as... More »

New in Zurich: $2.2M 'Sex Boxes'

Government facility could make life easier for prostitutes

(Newser) - Think prostitution should be legalized? Then check out what's happening in Zurich, where officials are set to open a $2.2 million facility so johns can take prostitutes into so-called "sex boxes," the Telegraph reports. The area will include a road where 40 prostitutes will be waiting... More »

Washington Puts Out Call for Pot Consultants

And dozens of intrepid pot heads answer it

(Newser) - At least five years of regulatory experience. A law degree. Extensive expertise in every aspect of growing, selling, and smoking weed. It's not exactly the most commonplace list of job requirements, but it's the skill set Washington state is looking for in its new official marijuana consultant, the... More »

CFPB Mortgage Overhaul Bans Lots of Shady Practices

While also protecting banks from lawsuits

(Newser) - The newly-minted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is circulating a series of new mortgage regulations that would ban some of the least savory tactics of the bubble era, the New York Times reports. Banks won't be able to offer deceptive teaser rates, or charge balloon payments, for example. They'll... More »

Starting Today, TV Ads Can't Blare Anymore

FCC implements rule toning down volume of commercials

(Newser) - TV viewing could soon sound a little calmer. The CALM Act, which limits the volume of TV commercials, goes into effect today. CALM stands for Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation. The act is designed to prevent TV commercials from blaring at louder volumes than the program content they accompany, and it... More »

UK Report Blasts Murdoch, Press for Wreaking 'Havoc'

Leveson report being watched with keen interest domestically

(Newser) - Lord Justice Brian Leveson's long-awaited report on the various scandals surrounding News of the World and other British tabloids finally hit today, and it absolutely savages Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and the British press in general. The press, Leveson writes, has "wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent... More »

Less-Regulated Pharmacies Take Heat in Meningitis Crisis

'Compounding pharmacies' make drugs with weaker oversight

(Newser) - The death toll in an ongoing meningitis outbreak has hit five, with 35 sick in six states, the AP reports. What's more, hundreds or thousands could be at risk across 23 states after receiving potentially tainted steroid injections, and health providers are rushing to warn them of the danger.... More »

Buckyballs Battles 'Government Gone Absurd'

Maker bucking calls to stop selling magnetic desk toy

(Newser) - The interests of business and of government regulators have met head-on in a battle over the Buckyballs magnetic desk toy. The rare-earth magnets are powerful enough to cause horrific injuries when swallowed by children, and while 11 other makers of similar products have complied with a Consumer Product Safety Commission... More »

What John Roberts Is Up To

Commentators see ulterior, conservative motive behind Roberts' vote

(Newser) - John Roberts upheld the Affordable Care Act today, and "in doing so, he gave a lot of people who don't pay attention a reason to celebrate him on Twitter," writes Mobutu Sese Seko of Gawker . "They're idiots." Seko and some other observers believe Roberts... More »

Fed Rule Writing Shrouded in Secrecy

Public meetings are rare, and dissent isn't disclosed

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve has been busily rewriting the rules of the financial system for years now, and it's been doing almost all of it behind closed doors. The Fed has held 47 votes on new regulations since Dodd-Frank was passed in July 2010, and only two of those were... More »

J&J Hawked FDA-Banned Hip Replacement Overseas

Product deemed unsafe was still sold overseas, derivative sold in US

(Newser) - Johnson & Johnson continued to sell an ill-designed artificial hip overseas even after the FDA deemed it unsafe—and used a regulatory loophole to sell a related model with the same design issue in the US, the New York Times reports. The FDA sent Johnson & Johnson a non-approval letter... More »

Angry Over Regulation, Spirit Institutes Snarky Fee

'Unintended Consequence' fee intended to chide transportation department

(Newser) - Spirit Airlines is angry over a new Department of Transportation rule—and it's making sure customers know it, by slapping a $2 "Department of Transportation Unintended Consequence Fee" on all tickets. The new rule, which went into effect last week, requires airlines to give customers a full refund,... More »

US Nuclear Regulators Routinely Weaken Rules

Changing standards keep ancient reactors running, despite wear and tear

(Newser) - US regulators are helping the nuclear power industry keep its aging plants in line with safety requirements by repeatedly loosening those requirements, according to a year-long AP investigation . The AP found thousands of problems—from cracking tubes to failed cables to leaking valves—all of which made the plants less... More »

Regulators Want to Put Ronald Out to Pasture

FTC trying to end marketing of junk food to kids

(Newser) - The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a new set of food advertising guidelines that could leave Ronald McDonald hanging out with Joe Camel in the unemployment line. The new guidelines aim to stop companies from marketing products that are high in sugar, fat, or salt to children, forbidding everything from... More »

FDA to Regulate E-Cigs

But just as tobacco products, not 'drug-delivery devices'

(Newser) - The FDA is getting in on the e-cigarette action, announcing today that it will regulate the smokeless smokes the same way it does other tobacco products. That's actually good news for e-cig purveyors, reports the AP, as they bypass tougher regulations they would have faced if labeled a drug-delivery... More »

Obama Delays New Environmental Regulations

Activists furious over economic move

(Newser) - The Obama administration is delaying the implementation of new regulations on smog and toxic industrial boiler emissions, leaving in place policies enacted by George W. Bush. The EPA says it will now need until July 2011 to consider the smog rules, so that it can analyze further scientific and health... More »

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