Regulatory Recap: May 24 to May 30, 2011

To help consumers identify environmentally efficient vehicles, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled new fuel economy window stickers for vehicles, beginning with 2013 models. Stickers will now include estimated annual fuel costs. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rules establishing a whistleblower program that will reward individuals who provide tips leading to successful enforcement actions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antibiotic Dificid to treat severe diarrhea caused by the C. difficile bacterium, a leading hospital-acquired infection. Dificid is the first drug to be cleared in almost thirty years to treat the infection, which is acquired by an estimated several hundred thousand Americans each year. The SEC proposed a rule prohibiting felons and "bad actors," such as individuals convicted of securities fraud, from selling securities under SEC Rule 506, a widely used type of private security placement. The FDA extended the comment period for a proposed rule that would require many restaurant and fast-food chains to post the calorie content of their menu items. Encouraging the use of alternative fuel vehicles, the Obama Administration is greening the federal government's vehicle fleet by purchasing hybrid and electric cars. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced settlements with Saxon Mortgage Services and the former Countrywide Home Loan Servicing to resolve charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on active duty servicemembers without court permission or checking military status. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) submitted its first request for information in reviewing AT&T's planned acquisition of T-Mobile. Among the issues under review is the adequacy of AT&T's current network capacity compared with the capacity of the combined networks. A defense authorization bill passed in the House would prohibit civilian Department of Defense (DOD) employees from receiving pay raises following a poor work performance, regardless of tenure.

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