This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Quarantine and stay-at-home orders will likely last through the end of April in many places. Congress passed the $2 trillion Phase 3 stimulus bill, and there is talk of pursuing a Phase 4 when Congress reconvenes on April 20. In more heartening news, governments are rolling back numerous #NeverNeeded regulations and weighing proposals to keep regulations from hindering future crisis responses. Meanwhile, agencies issued new final regulations ranging from signing correspondence to wood heater efficiency.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 58 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 55 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 816 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,139 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 50 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 548 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,108 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 443 notices, for a total of 5,686 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,870 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,602 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,245 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 19,075 pages. It is on pace for 73,366 pages. The 2019 total was 76,288 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. Two such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $180 million and $4.69 billion. 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 19 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 163 new rules affect small businesses; seven 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.