Guidance documents are statements of policy issued by your favorite alphabet soup of agencies, which more often than not translate into law, despite rarely going through the notice-and-public comment period required of most regulations. Wayne Crews’ study “A Partial Eclipse of the Administrative State” puts the number of guidance documents—just one form of “regulatory dark matter”—at more than 13,000 over the period 2008-2017.
Looking at what our government has done in the past can give us a good idea of what they might be up to in the future, so here is a look at how granular such guidance documents can be. Each one might be small, but when there are 13,000 of them per decade, mostly without outside review or accountability, they add up. This will be the last post of the series as my time at CEI is coming to a close, so here is a reminder of the “worst offenders” (from my count) out there: the Department of Agriculture, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Office of Personnel Management. Thanks for reading!
- Some regulation concerning Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities.
- Over 100 pages of regulation surrounding grasshoppers.
- Another 100 pages on what to do on seeds when they are not used for planting.
- The Department of Agriculture regulating dams, equipment, and materials for large structures.
- Guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on when to consult with tribes.
- A Housing and Urban Development guidance document on how to talk to people when they take out a loan.
- Guidance document that is letting you know you are now required to seek out how your property will do in a flood area.
- The Office of Personnel Management doing their best to try and make sure it’s workers are healthy.
- OPM issuing a guidance document on how to implement childcare legislation (you would think that would be in the bill text?).
- And a fun guidance document to end our series: the OPM telling you the steps you need to take to create a fair for your community to discover quality child-care or elder-care resources.