This Week in Ridiculous Regulations   


Contrary to my earlier prediction, the number of new regulations this year did not pass 2,000 last week, ending the four-day week at 1,991. Meanwhile, Hurricane Dorian spared Alabama despite fears to the contrary. Brexit drama reached a fever pitch in the UK, the Chinese government signaled a willingness to resume trade talks, and state attorneys general launched an antitrust investigation of Facebook. Rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from patent priorities to general service lamps.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 51 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 64 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 3 hours and 18 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,991 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,878 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 367 notices, for a total of 14,946 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,599 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,240 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,334 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 47,114 pages. It is on pace for 68,084 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 45 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 338 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.