This Week in Ridiculous Regulations


The House began preparing articles of impeachment, President Trump announced new tariffs against three allies, a NATO summit was surprisingly contentious, and the federal government is less than two weeks away from a possible shutdown. Meanwhile, agencies published new regulations ranging from old railroads to South Sudanese mail.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 40 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 41 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 12 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,775 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,940 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 364 notices, for a total of 20,410 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,621 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
  • Last week, 1,258 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,200 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 67,167 pages. It is on pace for 71,152 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 65 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 463 new rules affect small businesses; 21 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.