This Week in Ridiculous Regulations 


The latest Mad Libs-style political feud involves the NBA, the television cartoon South Park, and the Chinese government. President Trump also issued a pair of executive orders intended to rein in regulatory dark matter, and the 2019 Federal Register topped 55,000 pages. Rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from pedestrians and bicycle traffic to significant uses of fatty acids.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 68 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 97 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 28 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,360 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,980 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 507 notices, for a total of 17,206 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,725 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,712 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,937 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 55,015 pages. It is on pace for 69,464 pages. The 2018 total was 68,302 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. Four such rules have been published this year. Five such rules were published in 2018.
  • The running cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from savings of $4.39 billion to $4.08 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The 2018 total ranges from net costs of $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published 57 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 397 new rules affect small businesses; 20 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.