This Week in Ridiculous Regulations  


In a pre-recess Parthian shot, the Senate passed a massive new spending bill that would increase federal spending by $320 billion over two years and delay the next debt ceiling vote until after the next election. Within hours of the Senate’s adjournment, President Trump also announced a new round of tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods. Rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from refrigerator safety to uncertified leghemoglobin.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 61 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 66 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,662 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,789 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 488 notices, for a total of 12,855 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,569 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,484 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,450 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 37,954 pages. It is on pace for 63,682 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. Two such rules have 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 $205.1 million to $294.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 39 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 283 new rules affect small businesses; 14 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.