This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
Federal workers got a three-day week as a Christmas present this year. Agencies still put out 323 notices, 50 proposed regulations, and 1,342 Federal Register pages. Just two more Federal Register editions remain in 2019. New final regulations for the week range from guaranteed housing loans to mercury management fees.
On to the data:
- Last week, 35 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 63 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 48 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 2,937 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,961 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 323 notices, for a total of 21,589 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 21,676 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,656.
- Last week, 1,342 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,064 pages the previous week.
- The 2019 Federal Register totals 71,734 pages. It is on pace for 72,313 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 66 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
- So far in 2019, 492 new rules affect small businesses; 22 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:
- More farm subsidies.
- The term “digital divide” hasn’t been part of the public policy debate for about two decades now, as technological innovation has made fast, wireless internet access available to everyone, rendering the term obsolete. The term lives on at the FCC.
- New energy standards for incandescent lamps.
- Integrity for government-run health insurance exchanges.
- “Creation of Definition of Activities That Are Not Exports, Reexports, Retransfers, or Temporary Imports,” as regards international arms trafficking.
- Guaranteed loans for housing, as though willing a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
- Spanish mackerel.
- Mercury management fees.
- The U.S. Navy is allowed to kill a certain amount of marine mammals as part of their training exercises.
- Radiological emergency response plans.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.