The online news organization ProPublica has been tracking last-minute rules and regulations that George W. Bush has been pushing through the rulemaking process in the Administration's waning days. Termed "Midnight Regulations," these are typically changes that if allowed to proceed through a normal rule-making process with time for public comment, would raise significant concern, if not outright revolt.
The rule changes range from weakening the Endangered Species Act to amending procedures for releasing documents under the Freedom of Information Act. A new National Parks rule allowing loaded guns and concealed weapons into some national parks went into effect January 9th. Another rule out of Health and Human Services establishes that federally funded health institutions will allow employees to refuse to provide services that they find "morally reprehensible or "at odds with their religious principles." The rule could well limit a woman's access to federally funded reproductive health services.
The Administration has so far submitted 60 rules and hopes to see them finalized before President-elect Obama takes office.