This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The 2019 Federal Register has already exceeded its page count during President Trump’s first year in office, with more than a month to spare and almost no activity in the month of January due to the federal shutdown. On a four-day week, three days’ editions of the Federal Register exceed 600 pages, and Friday’s edition was 1,133 pages. An average day’s edition is under 300 pages. The Fall 2019 Unified Agenda is also yet to come out.

This week, Congress will likely avoid another shutdown by passing another Continuing Resolution to fund the government through an as-yet undetermined date. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from serial registration to engines that don’t move.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 49 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 58 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 26 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,606 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,948 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 317 notices, for a total of 19,196 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,715 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 2,680 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,591 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 63,563 pages. It is on pace for 71,904 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 59 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 436 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.