This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
President Trump threatened a new tariff on all Mexican goods, potentially scuttling the NAFTA/USMCA agreement. My colleague Wayne Crews went through the new Spring 2019 Unified Agenda and found 3,791 new regulations in the pipeline, and the 2019 Federal Register surpassed 25,000 pages. Meanwhile, during a four-day week due to Memorial Day, rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from anchovies to inertia locking devices.
On to the data:
- Last week, 41 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 77 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 4 hours and 6 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 1,098 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,615 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 347 notices, for a total of 8,962 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,339 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
- Last week, 1,128 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,668 pages the previous week.
- The 2019 Federal Register totals 25,492 pages. It is on pace for 60,696 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set in 2016.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
- The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
- Agencies have published 29 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
- So far in 2019, 195 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:
- Critical habitat for the spring pygmy sunfish.
- Air quality in New Jersey. Readers can make their own snarky jokes for this one.
- Anchovy fishing. May none of them end up anywhere near a pizza.
- Ethical conduct standards for the National Mediation Board.
- Inertia locking devices for seats on Airbus A330 planes.
- Financial privacy regulations for when the Defense Department seeks access to banks’ customer records.
- Brand name vs. generic product requirements for Defense Department acquisitions.
For more data, see the study “Ten Thousand Commandments” and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.