This Week in Ridiculous Regulations


The Washington Nationals made it to the World Series, and the White House canceled some of its newspaper subscriptions. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from eligible billfish to re-exporting goods to Cuba.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 29 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,444 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,952 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 480 notices, for a total of 18,067 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,821 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,503 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,075 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 57,600 pages. It is on pace for 69,566 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 58 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 409 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.

Cover image: By NordNordWest – Own work, using United States National Imagery and Mapping Agency data, CC BY-SA 3.0.