For Your Information: January 21, 1999
The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions.
Federal Register Notices:
- Final Rule: Freedom of Information Act, Miscellaneous Rules
On January 20, the FTC published a final rule that amends the Commission's Rules of Practice to incorporate procedures for the expedited processing and aggregation of requests received by the Commission under the Freedom of Information Act and to revise the Commission's schedule of fees charged to members of the public for access to agency records. The Commission also adopted internal procedures governing the disclosure of information not on the public record by FTC officials and staff for the conduct of official agency business, to the extent that such disclosure would not otherwise be prohibited by law. The final rule became effective upon publication. The Commission vote to make the rule final was 4-0. (See 64 Federal Register 3011 (January 20, 1999); FTC File No. P859907; Staff contact: Alex Tang, 202-326-2447)
- Notice: Revised Jurisdictional Thresholds for Section 8 of the Clayton Act
On January 11, the FTC published a notice that announced the revised thresholds for interlocking directorates required by the 1990 amendment of section 8 of the Clayton Act. Section 8 prohibits, with certain exceptions, one person from serving as a director or officer of two competing corporations if two thresholds are met. Competitor corporations are covered by section 8 if each one has capital, surplus, and undivided profits aggregating more than $10,000,000, with the exception that no corporation is covered if the competitive sales of either corporation are less than $1,000,000. Section 8(a)(5) requires the FTC to revise those thresholds annually, based on the change in gross national product. The new thresholds, which take effect immediately, are $15,308,000 for section 8(a)(1), and $1,530,800 for section8(a)(2)(A). The Commission vote to approve the new thresholds was 4-0. (See 64 Federal Register 1628 (January 11, 1999) , FTC File No. P859910; Staff contacts: James Mongoven, 202-326-2879 or Gabriel Dagen, 202-326-2573.)
- Notice of Intent to Request Public Comment on Rules
An announcement of the Commission's intention to seek public comment on certain rules and guides will be published in the Federal Register shortly. Since 1992, the Commission has repealed 18 guides and 13 rules, and has revised others to reduce burdens and make them more effective. As part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides the Commission will review two rules and four guides in 1999, including the Guides for Advertising Allowances and other Merchandising Payments and Services (Staff contact: Neil Averitt, 202-326-2885); Guides for the Dog and Cat Food Industry (Staff contact: Jock Chung, 202-326-2984); Guides for the Law Book Industry (Staff contact: Edwin Rodriguez, 202-326-3147); Guide Concerning Fuel Economy Advertising for New Automobiles (Staff contact: Larry Greene, 216-263-3406); Regulations under the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986 (Staff contact: Nancy Warder, 202-326-3048); Funeral Industry Practices Rule (Staff contact: Mercedes Kelley, 202-326-3665). The Commission vote to publish the notice was 4-0. (FTC File No. P924214.)
- Electric Utility Industry Restructuring: Staff files comment with Alabama PSC
On January 11, the staff of the Commission's Bureau of Economics submitted comments to the Alabama Public Service Commission  about restructuring in the electric utility industry. In the comment, the staff noted that the FTC has a longstanding interest in regulation and competition in energy markets, including proposals to reform regulation of the electric power and natural gas industries. The staff comment addressed the following topics: public interest; regulation; stranded costs; market structure (including affiliate relationships); market power (including horizontal market power, discrimination in access to transmission, and independent regional transmission organizations); and reliability. The Commission vote to file the staff comment was 4-0. The comment represents the views of the staff of the Bureau of Economics. They are not necessarily the views of the Federal Trade Commission or any individual Commissioner. (FTC File No. V980021; Staff contact: John C. Hilke, 303-844-3565.)
- Report about Enforcement Activities
On January 15, the Commission submitted to the Federal Reserve Board the Commission's Annual Report about its enforcement activities under the Truth in Lending, Consumer Leasing, Equal Credit Opportunity and Electronic Fund Transfer Acts. The Commission's report was provided to the Board for use in the Board's Annual Report to Congress. The Commission vote to approve the report was 4-0. (FTC File No. P994802; Staff contact: Carole Reynolds, 202-326-3230.)
Copies of the full text of the documents mentioned in this FYI are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
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