This Week in Ridiculous Regulations


Last week was the Federal Register’s busiest of the year, with its 3,075 pages almost tripling a normal week’s count. A new economically significant regulation targeting immigrants also pushes the compliance costs of this year’s new economically significant regulations above 2018’s total, with more than three months to go. Rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from Wisconsin landfill R&D permits to modernizing children’s television.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 69 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 67 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 26 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,808 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,843 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 403 notices, for a total of 13,674 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,497 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 3,075 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,766 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 42,798 pages. It is on pace for 67,293 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. Three 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 $294.9 million to $439.2 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 42 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 311 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 the study “Ten Thousand Commandments” and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.