This Week in Ridiculous Regulations


Congress averted a government shutdown until December 20th by passing a continuing resolution. The Fall 2019 Unified Agenda was also released, which compiles all rulemaking agencies’ upcoming plans. Wayne Crews has more on that. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies published new regulations ranging from college radio to redesignating unclassifiable areas.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 59 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 49 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 51 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,665 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,936 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 454 notices, for a total of 19,650 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,641 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,135 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,680 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 64,701 pages. It is on pace for 71,257 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 61 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 444 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.