This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Book of regulations GettyImages-1134912783

The news cycle focused almost entirely on the president’s impeachment trial. The Federal Register had a four-day week due to Martin Luther King Day, but agencies still found time to issue new final regulations ranging from researching beef to propane tank arrangements.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 44 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 66 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 49 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 183 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 2,860 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 43 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 126 on the year. At that pace, there will be 1,969 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,106 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 80 notices, for a total of 1,158 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 18,094 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,338 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,493 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 4,557 pages. It is on pace for 71,204 pages. The 2019 total was 72,561 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. One such rule has been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations is currently zero. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published seven final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 28 new rules affect small businesses; two of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 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.