This Week in Ridiculous Regulations


The 2019 Federal Register broke 30,000 pages last week, the Democratic presidential candidates had their first debates, and the U.S. and Chinese governments prepared for major trade talks. Meanwhile, agencies published new regulations ranging from green sea urchins to tall ships.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 73 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 90 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,360 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,720 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 454 notices, for a total of 10,834 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,668 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
  • Last week, 1,799 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,461 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 31,169 pages. It is on pace for 62,338 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 34 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 243 new rules affect small businesses; 13 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:

For more data, see “Ten Thousand Commandments” and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.