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46178

Proposed Rules Federal Register


Vol. 72, No. 159

Friday, August 17, 2007

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER • E-mail: combox@opm.gov. Include The nature of this initiative requires
contains notices to the public of the proposed the docket number and/or RIN number regulations to accommodate two
issuance of rules and regulations. The in the subject line of the message. somewhat unusual program needs. First,
purpose of these notices is to give interested • Fax: (202) 606–0990. the regulations must allow for the
persons an opportunity to participate in the • Mail: John Panagakos, Manager, differing requirements of two retirement
rule making prior to the adoption of the final
Retirement Group, Office of Personnel processing programs operating
rules.
Management, 1900 E Street, NW., Room simultaneously. Second, because the
4351, Washington, DC 20415. technology and procedures of the
OFFICE OF PERSONNEL SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: initiative are still in development and
MANAGEMENT will continue to evolve even as the
Overview of Retirement Systems initiative becomes operational, the
5 CFR Part 850 Modernization regulations cannot be specific on many
Retirement Systems Modernization subjects, but must be sufficiently
RIN 3206–AL34 (RSM) is a strategic initiative of the flexible to enable the initiative to
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) operate.
Retirement Systems Modernization to improve the quality and timeliness of Accordingly, the premise underlying
services to individuals covered by the the regulations OPM is proposing to
AGENCY: Office of Personnel Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) promulgate in a new part 850 of title 5,
Management. and the Federal Employees’ Retirement Code of Federal Regulations, to support
ACTION: Proposed rule. System (FERS), as well as those covered the RSM initiative, is that current
by the Federal Employees’ Group Life regulations governing CSRS, FERS,
SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Insurance (FEGLI), the Federal FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB will not be
Management (OPM) is issuing proposed Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) and changed at this time, but the provisions
rules to authorize alternative provisions Retired Federal Employees Health authorized by the new part 850 will
for processing retirement and health and Benefits (RFEHB) Programs, by supersede the existing CSRS, FERS,
life insurance applications, notices, modernizing business processes and the FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB provisions for
elections, and records under the technology that supports them. The those portions of cases processed under
agency’s Retirement Systems RSM program will transform the the initiative. Where there is a
Modernization (RSM) project. The RSM retirement process, and health and life difference, the provisions authorized by
project is OPM’s strategic e-Gov insurance elections, by devising more the new part 850 will apply to those
initiative to improve the quality and efficient and effective business systems portions of cases processed under the
timeliness of services to employees and to respond to increased customer initiative.
annuitants covered by the Civil Service demand for higher levels of customer Phased Implementation of RSM
Retirement System (CSRS) and the service and online self-service tools. Implementation of RSM will begin in
Federal Employees’ Retirement System New Web-based tools will be February 2008. Retirement and
(FERS), as well as the Federal available on demand for Federal insurance records of current employees
Employees’ Group Life Insurance employees to plan early for their and annuitants will be migrated into the
(FEGLI), the Federal Employees Health retirement and for annuitants to make new system in a series of waves. More
Benefits (FEHB) and Retired Federal health and life insurance elections. information about the phased
Employees Health Benefits (RFEHB) System operators will have secure implementation of the RSM system will
Programs, by modernizing business access to Federal employees’ and be posted at http://www.opm.gov/rsm/
processes and the technology that annuitants’ information in the system, index.asp as it becomes available.
supports them. Certain regulatory allowing for enhanced retirement and
provisions governing the processing of post-retirement counseling. The What RSM Means for Employees and
benefits under CSRS, FERS, FEGLI, automation of claims processing will be Annuitants
FEHB and RFEHB are incompatible with done more efficiently and consistently As discussed earlier, employees and
the effort to modernize retirement and and will provide Federal employees and annuitants will have greater access to
insurance applications and claims annuitants with access to their their retirement and insurance
processing. Therefore, exceptions from retirement and insurance information information under RSM, as well as
these provisions need to be authorized. that was not previously available to access to web-based tools that will
DATES: Comments must be received on them. provide improved customer service and
or before September 17, 2007. However, some current regulatory allow for enhanced retirement and
provisions, especially the procedures insurance benefits counseling. Unless
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
they prescribe, are based on outdated explicitly provided for in these
James Giuseppe, (202) 606–0299. technology. Those provisions are regulations, there is no intention to
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, suitable for a paper-based system that make substantive changes in provisions
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identified by docket number and/or RIN will eventually cease to exist, but which governing eligibility for retirement or
number by any of the following will continue to operate concurrently formulas for computing annuities.
methods: for some time with respect to at least However, the initiative’s greater ability
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// some aspects of retirement and to capture and use more detailed
www.regulations.gov. Follow the insurance processing for some information will permit more precise
instructions for submitting comments. individuals. and accurate calculation of some aspects

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 159 / Friday, August 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules 46179

of annuities and insurance than the less in electronic form, and encourages cryptographic methods such as shared
precise calculations possible under Federal government use of a range of symmetric key cryptography, or public/
existing procedures, as in the case of electronic signature alternatives. The private key (asymmetric) cryptography,
data elements that will now be available Act also gives OMB the authority to also known as digital signatures. These
on a pay-period or daily basis rather issue procedures for the use and are simply examples of electronic
than an annual basis. Accordingly, RSM acceptance of electronic signatures by signatures that the Director of OPM
will provide the most accurate Federal agencies. OMB published final would have the discretion to accept, but
computation possible. procedures and guidance for would not be required to accept, in
implementing the GPEA in OMB prescribing implementing directives.
Subpart A—General Provisions Proposed § 850.103 provides
Memorandum M–00–10, 65 FR 25508
Subpart A of the proposed part 850 (May 2, 2000). OMB Memorandum M– definitions for these and other terms.
includes general provisions governing 00–10 states that an agency should For example, ‘‘digitized signature’’ is
the RSM initiative, including the perform an assessment of the sensitivity defined as a graphic image of a
purpose and scope of the initiative, of a particular transaction and available handwritten signature containing
definitions of terms used in the new electronic signature technologies before unique biometric data associated with
part 850, a description of the it implements electronic signature the creation of each stroke of the
applicability of its provisions, and capabilities for the transaction. This signature. A digitized signature can be
authority for the Director of OPM to assessment must include a risk analysis verified by comparing it with the
issue implementing directives and a cost-benefit analysis concerning characteristics and biometric data of a
prescribing more specific procedures for the use of a particular electronic known or exemplar signature image.
RSM processes. As noted earlier, the signature technology for a transaction. ‘‘Personal identification number’’
detailed procedures by which the (PIN) or ‘‘password’’ is defined as a non-
system will operate will continue to Subpart A includes provisions cryptographic method of authenticating
evolve both as the February 2008 allowing electronic communications the identity of a user of an electronic
implementation date approaches and and electronic signatures to be accepted application. To authenticate a user’s
after that date. These procedures will be in lieu of currently-required paper identity with this method, a user
at a level of detail that makes them documents and written signatures. accessing an electronic application is
inappropriate for inclusion in the Code Section 850.106 incorporates provisions asked to enter his or her name, or other
of Federal Regulations. Therefore, of the GPEA concerning the user identifier, and a password or PIN.
§ 850.104 of the proposed regulations acceptability of electronic signatures The password or PIN is known both to
provides the OPM Director with and descriptions of current electronic the user and to the electronic system,
authority to prescribe detailed signature technology set out in OMB but to no one else. The system checks
procedures to implement the Memorandum M–00–10. However, the the individual’s password or PIN against
mechanical processes of RSM. The electronic retirement and insurance data in a database to ensure correctness
Director’s authority under this section is processing system developed by RSM and thereby authenticates the user.
intended to affect only regulations will not have the capability to process ‘‘Public/private key (asymmetric)
governing process-oriented all of the electronic signature cryptography’’ is a method of creating a
requirements, such as requirements that technologies described in the unique mark, known as the digital
applications, forms, or notices be in regulations when the system begins to signature, on an electronic document or
writing. Part 850 and the Director’s operate. Section 850.106(c) provides file. It uses two computer-generated,
implementing directives are not that the Director of OPM must issue mathematically-linked keys: a private
intended to alter any substantive rights directives under § 850.104 that identify signing key known only to the user and
of employees or annuitants. In addition, the acceptable methods of effecting the electronic system and a public key
part 850 and the Director’s electronic signatures, from among the used to validate the fact that the digital
implementing directives are not electronic signature technologies that signature was generated with the
intended to supersede or alter any the electronic retirement and insurance associated private key.
functions performed by a private processing system will be capable of ‘‘Shared symmetric key
insurance company or carrier with processing, for particular electronic cryptography’’ is a method of
which OPM has entered into a contract, communications. For example, to authentication in which a single
or with which OPM may enter into a permit an employee to apply for (private) key, known only to the user
contract in the future, under chapter 87 retirement through the submission of an and the recipient of the electronic
or 89 of title 5, United States Code, or electronic retirement application on an document, is used to sign and verify an
any other statutory or regulatory Internet Web site accessed with a electronic document.
provision. personal identification number or ‘‘Smart card’’ is defined as a plastic
password, the Director would have to card, resembling a credit card,
Electronic Signatures issue an implementing directive containing an embedded integrated
The Government Paperwork allowing an electronic retirement circuit or ‘‘chip’’ that can generate,
Elimination Act (GPEA), Pub. L. 105– application to be submitted by this store, or process data. A smart card can
277, Title XVII, requires Federal method. Through the issuance of be used to facilitate various
agencies to allow individuals or entities implementing directives prescribed authentication technologies that can
that deal with agencies the option to under § 850.104, the Director could also be embedded on the same card.
submit information or transact with the authorize the electronic retirement and Information from the card’s chip is
agency electronically, when practicable, insurance processing system to accept provided to a computer, which can
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and to maintain records electronically, various forms of electronic signatures accept the card only when the user also
when practicable. The Act specifically including, signatures created by enters a PIN, password, or biometric
states that electronic records and their personal identification numbers (PINs) identifier recognized by the card.
related electronic signatures are not to or passwords, smart cards, digitized The implementing directives
be denied legal effect, validity, or signatures, biometrics (e.g., fingerprints, prescribed by the Director under
enforceability merely because they are retinal patterns, voice recognition), or § 850.104 also could specify how a

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46180 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 159 / Friday, August 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules

signature may be notarized Subpart C—Records Pensions, Reporting and recordkeeping


electronically, where there is a Subpart C describes electronic records requirements, Retirement.
requirement for a notarized signature. that are acceptable for processing by the Office of Personnel Management.
Section 850.106(a)(4), consistent with RSM system. These include electronic Linda M. Springer,
section 101(g) of the Electronic data submitted through the Enterprise Director.
Signatures in Global and National Human Resources Integration (EHRI) Accordingly, the Office of Personnel
Commerce Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106– system and data from electronic Official Management is proposing to amend title
229), provides that the Director could Personnel Folders (e-OPFs), as well as 5, Code of Federal Regulations, by
accept an electronic signature as paper documents that have been establishing a new part 850 as follows:
properly notarized if the signature is converted to digital form by image
attached to or logically associated with scanning or other means. Paper PART 850—RETIREMENT SYSTEMS
all other information and records documents that have not been converted MODERNIZATION
required to be included by the to electronic or digital form will
applicable statute or regulation. Subpart A—General Provisions
continue to be acceptable records for
Sec.
Subpart B—Applications for Benefits; processing under RSM. Federal agencies 850.101 Purpose and scope.
Elections and other entities employing 850.102 Applicability.
individuals covered by CSRS or FERS 850.103 Definitions.
Subpart B of the proposed regulations continue to be responsible for the 850.104 Implementing directives.
deals with applications and notices for initiation and proper maintenance of 850.105 Agency responsibility.
CSRS, FERS, FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB employment, retirement, and insurance 850.106 Electronic signatures.
benefits under the RSM initiative and records, as well as for correcting errors Subpart B—Applications for Benefits;
elections associated with the processing in data provided to OPM. Elections
of those benefits. It allows applications,
Subpart D—Submission of Law 850.201 Applications for benefits.
forms, notices, elections, and other
Enforcement, Firefighter, and Nuclear 850.202 Survivor elections.
related submissions, which otherwise 850.203 Other elections.
would be required to be made in Materials Courier Retirement Coverage
writing, to be submitted in whatever Notices Subpart C—Records
form the Director of OPM prescribes, Subpart D concerns the submission of 850.301 Electronic records; other acceptable
including electronically. It also allows notices of coverage under the CSRS and records.
all such submissions to be made to OPM 850.302 Record maintenance.
FERS special retirement provisions for 850.303 Return of personal documents.
through the RSM electronic processing law enforcement officers, firefighters,
system, regardless of any other and nuclear materials couriers. Such Subpart D—Submission of Law
requirement for certain individuals to notices of coverage must be submitted Enforcement, Firefighter, and Nuclear
submit certain documents to their electronically through EHRI to the RSM Materials Courier Retirement Coverage
employing agencies or OPM. Subpart B Notices
processing system. The notice must
also stipulates that, for cases processed include the position description number 850.401 Electronic notice of coverage
under the RSM system, data provided to determination.
for the position for which special
the RSM electronic processing system retirement coverage has been approved. Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8347; 5 U.S.C. 8461; 5
under subpart C will be the basis on U.S.C. 8716; 5 U.S.C. 8913; section 9 of Pub.
which claims for CSRS, and FERS E.O. 12866, Regulatory Review L. 86–724, 74 Stat. 849, 851–52 (September
retirement benefits will be adjudicated, This rule has been reviewed by the 8, 1960) as amended by section 102 of
and will support the administration of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1978, 92 Stat.
Office of Management and Budget in 3781, 3783 (February 23, 1978).
FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB coverage for accordance with Executive Order 12866.
annuitants. Subpart B provides a Subpart A—General Provisions
deadline of 35 days after the date of the Regulatory Flexibility Act
notice to the retiring employee of the I certify that this regulation will not § 850.101 Purpose and scope.
amount of his or her annuity within have a significant economic impact on (a) The purpose of this part is to
which he or she can change a survivor a substantial number of small entities enable changes needed for
election. This deadline replaces because the regulation will affect only implementation of the new retirement
provisions in current regulations that Federal employees, former Federal and insurance processing system
link the timeframe for changing survivor employees, Members of Congress, created by the Office of Personnel
elections to the date of the ‘‘first regular annuitants, survivors, and applicants Management (OPM)’s Retirement
monthly payment’’ or ‘‘final under the Civil Service Retirement Systems Modernization (RSM)
adjudication.’’ Subpart B also provides System and the Federal Employees’ initiative. RSM is OPM’s strategic
that any deadline for making any other Retirement System whose retirement initiative to improve the quality and
election that is described in reference to and insurance records are maintained timeliness of services to employees and
the first regular monthly payment or the by the new retirement processing annuitants covered by the Civil Service
date of final adjudication is deemed to system created by OPM’s Retirement Retirement System (CSRS) and the
be 35 days after the date of the notice Systems Modernization (RSM) Federal Employees’ Retirement System
to the retiring employee of the amount initiative. (FERS) by using contemporary,
of annuity to which he or she is entitled. automated business processes and
This provision is necessary because the List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 850 supporting technology. The RSM
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terms ‘‘first regular monthly payment’’ Administrative practice and program is designed to transform the
and ‘‘final adjudication’’ can no longer procedure, Air traffic controllers, retirement process, as well as the
be applied in the way they used to be Alimony, Claims, Disability benefits, processing of annuitant insurance
applied in a paper-based environment; Firefighters, Government employees, elections of FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB
therefore, they will lose their meaning Income taxes, Intergovernmental coverage, by employing more efficient
in the RSM context. relations, Law enforcement officers, and effective business systems to

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 159 / Friday, August 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules 46181

respond to increased customer demand voice patterns, fingerprints, and the FEHB means the Federal Employees
for higher levels of customer service and blood vessel patterns present on the Health Benefits Program established
online self-service tools. retina of one or both eyes. under chapter 89 of title 5, United States
(b) The provisions of this part Cryptographic control method means Code.
authorize exceptions from regulatory an approach to authenticating identity FERS means the Federal Employees’
provisions that would otherwise apply or the authenticity of an electronic Retirement System established under
to CSRS and FERS annuities and FEGLI, document through the use of a cipher chapter 84 of title 5, United States Code.
FEHB and RFEHB benefits processed by (i.e., a pair of algorithms) which Member means a Member of Congress
or at the direction of OPM under the performs encryption and decryption. defined by section 2106 of title 5,
RSM initiative. Those regulatory CSRS means the Civil Service United States Code, who is covered by
provisions that would otherwise apply Retirement System established under CSRS or FERS.
were established for a paper-based subchapter III of chapter 83 of title 5, Non-cryptographic method is an
retirement and insurance benefits United States Code. approach to authenticating identity that
processing system that will eventually Digital signature is an electronic relies solely on an identification and
be phased out but which will continue signature generated by means of an authentication mechanism that must be
to operate concurrently with RSM for algorithm that ensures that the identity linked to a specific software platform for
some time, until RSM is fully of the signatory and the integrity of the each application.
implemented. During the phased data can be verified. A value, referred to Personal identification number (PIN)
transition to RSM processing, certain as the ‘‘private key,’’ is generated to or password means a non-cryptographic
regulations that were not designed with produce the signature, and another method of authenticating the identity of
RSM in mind, and which are value, known as the ‘‘public key,’’ a user of an electronic application,
incompatible with RSM business which is linked to, but not the same as, involving the use of an identifier known
processes, must be set aside with the private key, is used to verify the only to the user and to the electronic
respect to aspects of retirement and signature. system, which checks the identifier
insurance processing accomplished Digitized signature means a graphical against data in a database to
under RSM. The regulations set forth in image of a handwritten signature, authenticate the user’s identity.
this part make the transition to RSM usually created using a special Public/private key (asymmetric)
processes possible. computer input device, such as a digital cryptography is a method of creating a
(c) The provisions of this part do not pen and pad, which contains unique unique mark, known as a digital
affect retirement and insurance biometric data associated with the signature, on an electronic document or
eligibility and annuity computation creation of each stroke of the signature, file. This method involves the use of
provisions. The provisions for capturing such as duration of stroke or pen two computer-generated,
retirement and insurance data in an pressure. A digitized signature can be mathematically-linked keys: a private
electronic format, however, may verified by a comparison with the signing key that is kept private and a
support, in some instances, more characteristics and biometric data of a public validation key that is available to
precise calculations of annuity and known or exemplar signature image. the public.
insurance benefits than were possible Director means the Director of the RFEHB means the Retired Federal
using paper records. Office of Personnel Management. Employees Health Benefits Program
§ 850.102 Applicability. Electronic communication refers to established under Pub. L. 86–724, 74
any information conveyed through Stat. 849, 851–52 (September 8, 1960) as
(a) The provisions of parts 831, 835,
electronic means and includes amended.
837 through 839, 841 through 847, 870,
electronic forms, applications, elections, Shared service centers are processing
890, and 891 of this chapter remain in
and requests submitted by e-mail or any centers delivering a broad array of
effect, as applicable, except to the extent
other electronic message. administrative services to multiple
that they are inconsistent with one or
Electronic Official Personnel Record agencies.
more provisions of this part or
Folder (e-OPF) means the electronic Shared symmetric key cryptography
implementing directives prescribed by
Official Personnel Folder application means a method of authentication in
the Director under § 850.104 of this part.
(b) The provisions of this part do not that will replace the current paper which a single key is used to sign and
supersede or alter any functions personnel folder across the Government. verify an electronic document. The
performed by a private insurance Electronic retirement and insurance single key (also known as a ‘‘private
company or carrier with which OPM processing system means the new key’’) is known only by the user and the
has entered into a contract, or with retirement and insurance processing recipient or recipients of the electronic
which OPM may enter into a contract in system created by OPM’s Retirement document.
the future, under chapter 87 or 89 of Systems Modernization (RSM) Smart card means a plastic card,
title 5, United States Code, or under any initiative. typically the size of a credit card,
other provision of law or regulation. Employee means an individual, other containing an embedded integrated
than a Member of Congress, who is circuit or ‘‘chip’’ that can generate,
§ 850.103 Definitions. covered by CSRS or FERS. store, or process data. A smart card can
In this part— Enterprise Human Resources be used to facilitate various
Biometrics refers to the technology Integration (EHRI) means the authentication technologies that may be
that converts a unique characteristic of comprehensive electronic personnel embedded on the same card.
an individual into a digital form, which record-keeping and analysis system that
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is then interpreted by a computer and supports human resources management § 850.104 Implementing directives.
compared with a digital exemplar copy across the Federal Government. The Director must prescribe, in the
of the characteristic stored in the FEGLI means the Federal Employees’ form he or she deems appropriate, such
computer. Among the unique Group Life Insurance Program detailed procedures as the Director
characteristics of an individual that can established under chapter 87 of title 5, determines to be necessary to carry out
be converted into a digital form are United States Code. the purpose of this part.

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46182 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 159 / Friday, August 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules

§ 850.105 Agency responsibility. (2) Cryptographic control methods, § 850.203 Other elections.
Agencies employing individuals including— (a) Any other election may be effected
whose retirement records or processing (i) Shared symmetric key in such form as the Director prescribes
are affected by this part are responsible cryptography; under § 850.104. Such elections include
for counseling those individuals (ii) Public/private key (asymmetric) but are not limited to—
regarding their rights and benefits under cryptography, also known as digital (1) Elections of coverage under CSRS,
CSRS, FERS, FEGLI, FEHB, or RFEHB. signatures; FERS, FEGLI, FEHB or RFEHB by
(3) Any combination of methods individuals entitled to elect such
§ 850.106 Electronic signatures. described in paragraphs (1) and (2); or coverage;
(a) Subject to any provisions (4) Such other means as the Director (2) Applications for service credit and
prescribed by the Director under may find appropriate. applications to make deposit; and
§ 850.104— (3) Elections regarding the
(1) An electronic communication may Subpart B—Applications for Benefits;
Elections withholding of State income tax from
be deemed to satisfy any statutory or annuity payments.
regulatory requirement under CSRS, § 850.201 Applications for benefits. (b) Any election, which, if it were not
FERS, FEGLI, FEHB or RFEHB for a (a)(1) Applications and related processed under this part, would have
written election, notice, application, submissions that otherwise would be a deadline described in reference to the
consent, request, or specific form required by this chapter to be made in first regular monthly payment or the
format; writing may instead be submitted in date of final adjudication, may not be
(2) An electronic signature of an such form as the Director prescribes made later than 35 days after the date
electronic communication may be under § 850.104 of this part. of the OPM notice to the individual
deemed to satisfy any statutory or (2) Subject to any directives concerned of the amount of annuity to
regulatory requirement under CSRS, prescribed by the Director under which he or she is entitled.
FERS, FEGLI, FEHB or RFEHB that an § 850.104 of this part, applications and
individual submit a signed writing to related submissions that are otherwise Subpart C—Records
OPM; required to be made to an individual’s
(3) An electronic signature of a § 850.301 Electronic records; other
employing agency (other than by acceptable records.
witness to an electronic signature may statute) may instead be submitted to the
be deemed to satisfy any statutory or electronic retirement and insurance (a) Acceptable electronic records for
regulatory requirement under CSRS, processing system or to OPM. processing by the electronic retirement
FERS, FEGLI, FEHB or RFEHB for a (b) Data provided under subpart C are and insurance processing system
signature to be witnessed; and the basis for adjudicating claims for include—
(4) Any statutory or regulatory CSRS and FERS retirement benefits, and (1) Electronic employee data
requirement under CSRS, FERS, FEGLI, will support the administration of submitted by an agency or other entity
FEHB or RFEHB that a signature be FEGLI, FEHB and RFEHB coverage for through EHRI and stored within the new
notarized may be satisfied if the annuitants, under this part. retirement and insurance processing
electronic signature of the person (c) For the purposes of this subpart, system;
authorized to sign is attached to or ‘‘OPM notice’’ means the notice (2) Electronic Official Personnel
logically associated with all other informing the retiree or other individual Folder (e-OPF) data; and
information and records required to be of the annuity computation rate and of (3) Documents, including hardcopy
included by the applicable statute or the elections made by the retiree or versions of the Individual Retirement
regulation. other such individual eligible to make Record (SF 2806 or SF 3100), or data
(b) For purposes of this section, an such an election and informing him or obtained from such documents, that are
electronic signature is a method of her of the time limit under § 850.202 or converted to an electronic or digital
signing an electronic communication, § 850.203 for any election, revocation or form by means of image scanning or
including an application, claim, or change of election. other forms of electronic or digital
notice, designation of beneficiary, or conversion.
assignment that— § 850.202 Survivor elections. (b) Documents that are not converted
(1) Identifies and authenticates a (a) A survivor election under to an electronic or digital form will
particular person as the source of the subsection (j) or (k) of section 8339, or continue to be acceptable records for
electronic communication; and under section 8416, 8417, or 8420 of processing by the retirement and
(2) Indicates such person’s approval title 5, United States Code, which is insurance processing system.
of the information contained in the otherwise required to be in writing may (c) OPM is not required to retain
electronic communication. be effected in such form as the Director documents after they have been
(c) The Director will issue directives prescribes under § 850.104. converted to electronic records.
under § 850.104 of this part that identify (b)(1) Except as provided in
the acceptable methods of effecting §§ 831.622(b)(1), 831.631, 831.632, § 850.302 Record maintenance.
electronic signatures for particular 842.610(b)(1), 842.611, and 842.612, an (a) The retirement and insurance
purposes under this part. Acceptable individual making a survivor election at processing system does not affect the
methods of creating an electronic the time of retirement may not revoke or responsibilities of every Federal
signature may include— change that election later than 35 days department, agency, corporation or
(1) Non-cryptographic methods, after the date of the OPM notice to the branch, and the District of Columbia
including— individual of the amount of annuity to government (included collectively in
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(i) Personal Identification Number which he or she is entitled. this part in the term department or
(PIN) or password; (2) A retiree may change a survivor agency) having employees or Members
(ii) Smart card; election under § 831.622(b)(1) or of Congress subject to subchapter III of
(iii) Digitized signature; or § 841.610(b)(1) no later than 18 months chapter 83 or chapter 84 of title 5,
(iv) Biometrics, such as fingerprints, after the commencing date of the United States Code, for the initiation
retinal patterns, and voice recognition; annuity to which he or she is entitled. and maintenance of records, evidence,

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 159 / Friday, August 17, 2007 / Proposed Rules 46183

or other information described in this DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Avenue, SW., STOP 0237, Washington,
title. DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720–
Agricultural Marketing Service 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or E-mail:
(b) Agencies are responsible for
correcting errors in data provided to Jay.Guerber@usda.gov.
7 CFR Part 984
OPM under § 850.301. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule
[Docket No. AMS–FV–07–0089; is issued under Marketing Agreement
§ 850.303 Return of personal documents. FV07–984–1 PR] and Order No. 984, both as amended (7
An individual who submits personal CFR part 984), regulating the handling
Walnuts Grown in California; Increased of walnuts grown in California,
documents to OPM in support of a claim Assessment Rate
for retirement or insurance benefits may hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘order.’’
have such documents returned to the AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, The order is effective under the
individual if he or she requests the USDA. Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act
of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674),
return of the documents when ACTION: Proposed rule.
hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act.’’
submitting the documents. If OPM The Department of Agriculture
receives a request for return of such SUMMARY: This rule would increase the
assessment rate established for the (USDA) is issuing this rule in
documents at a later time, OPM may conformance with Executive Order
provide the individual with a copy of Walnut Marketing Board (Board) for the
2007–08 and subsequent fiscal periods 12866.
the document that is derived from This rule has been reviewed under
from $0.0101 to $0.0122 per
electronic records. Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice
kernelweight pound of assessable
walnuts. The Board locally administers Reform. Under the marketing order now
Subpart D—Submission of Law in effect, California walnut handlers are
Enforcement, Firefighter, and Nuclear the marketing order which regulates the
handling of walnuts grown in subject to assessments. Funds to
Materials Courier Retirement Coverage administer the order are derived from
California. Assessments upon walnut
Notices such assessments. It is intended that the
handlers are used by the Board to fund
reasonable and necessary expenses of assessment rate as proposed herein
§ 850.401 Electronic notice of coverage
determination. the program. The marketing year begins would be applicable to all assessable
August 1 and ends July 31. The walnuts beginning on August 1, 2007,
(a) An agency or other entity that assessment rate would remain in effect and continue until amended,
submits electronic employee records indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. This rule will
directly or through a shared service suspended, or terminated. not preempt any State or local laws,
center to the electronic retirement and regulations, or policies, unless they
DATES: Comments must be received by
insurance processing system must present an irreconcilable conflict with
September 4, 2007.
electronically submit the notice of law this rule.
ADDRESSES: Interested persons are The Act provides that administrative
enforcement officer, firefighter, or
invited to submit written comments proceedings must be exhausted before
nuclear materials retirement coverage
concerning this rule. Comments must be parties may file suit in court. Under
required by § 831.811(a), 831.911(a),
sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any
842.808(a), or 842.910(a) of this title Order Administration Branch, Fruit and
through EHRI to the electronic handler subject to an order may file
Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, 1400 with USDA a petition stating that the
retirement and insurance processing Independence Avenue, SW., STOP
system. order, any provision of the order, or any
0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Fax: obligation imposed in connection with
(b) The electronic notice required by (202) 720–8938; or Internet: http:// the order is not in accordance with law
paragraph (a) must include the position www.regulations.gov. Comments should and request a modification of the order
description number of the position for reference the docket number and the or to be exempted therefrom. Such
which law enforcement officer, date and page number of this issue of handler is afforded the opportunity for
firefighter, or nuclear materials courier the Federal Register and will be a hearing on the petition. After the
retirement coverage has been approved. available for public inspection in the hearing USDA would rule on the
Office of the Docket Clerk during regular petition. The Act provides that the
(c) An agency or other entity
business hours, or can be viewed at: district court of the United States in any
submitting an electronic notice required http://www.regulations.gov.
by paragraph (a) must electronically district in which the handler is an
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: inhabitant, or has his or her principal
submit the coverage determination and
Shereen Marino, Marketing Specialist, place of business, has jurisdiction to
background file required to be
California Marketing Field Office, or review USDA’s ruling on the petition,
maintained by § 831.811(b), 831.911(b),
Kurt J. Kimmel, Regional Manager, provided an action is filed not later than
842.808(b), or 842.910(b) to the California Marketing Field Office, 20 days after the date of the entry of the
electronic retirement and insurance Marketing Order Administration ruling.
processing system for each position Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, This rule would increase the
included in the notice. AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487– assessment rate established for the
[FR Doc. E7–16256 Filed 8–16–07; 8:45 am] 5901, Fax: (559) 487–5906, or E-mail: Board for the 2007–08 and subsequent
BILLING CODE 6325–38–P Shereen.Marino@usda.gov, or fiscal periods from $0.0101 to $0.0122
Kurt.Kimmel@usda.gov. per kernelweight pound of assessable
ebenthall on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS

Small businesses may request walnuts.


information on complying with this The California walnut marketing
regulation by contacting Jay Guerber, order provides authority for the Board,
Marketing Order Administration with the approval of USDA, to formulate
Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, an annual budget of expenses and
AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence collect assessments from handlers to

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