This Week in Ridiculous Regulations   


Last week’s big stories included a thickening impeachment plot, Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s resignation, and a letter written to the president of Turkey. In a bit of amusing but unsurprising news, it emerged that White House trade advisor Peter Navarro repeatedly quoted a made-up China expert in several of his books. The fictional character’s name, Ron Nava, is an anagram for “Navarro.” Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from REAL ID compliance to importing cotton.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 29 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 68 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every five hours and 48 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,389 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,957 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 399 notices, for a total of 17,605 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,789 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,075 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,712 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 56,093 pages. It is on pace for 69,423 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, 401 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.