This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
New unemployment applications were down to 4.4 million last week. This is still more than an order of magnitude greater than the pre-coronavirus record. With roughly 26 million people now claiming benefits, the unemployment rate is likely now at Great Depression-era levels. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging light-duty vehicles to golden parakeets.
On to the data:
- Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 49 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and three minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 988 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,088 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,150 regulations.
- There were also 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 684 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,138 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 462 notices, for a total of 6,989 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,841 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 1,464 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,352 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 23,204 pages. It is on pace for 72,513 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 20 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 195 new rules affect small businesses; eight 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:
- The Drug Enforcement Administration has a new rule for allowing electronic prescriptions for controlled substances. We’re going to go ahead and guess that drug dealers across the country have already been offering this service for years.
- Greenhouse gases and light-duty vehicles.
- Truth-in-billing requirements for television services.
- Two rules containing COVID-related temporary changes in leverage ratios for community banks.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expanding use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz band of wireless spectrum.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has new rules for prioritizing and allocating medical equipment.
- The golden conure, also known as the golden parakeet, is being upgraded from an endangered to a threatened species.
- The FCC has new rules for carrying low-power television stations.
- Travel restrictions for Canada and Mexico.
- A 90-day deferral of certain tariff payments for companies in severe financial hardship. I wrote more about this here.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will be allowing telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Temporary regulatory relief for credit unions.
- The definition of “Waters of the United States.”
- New regulations for immigrant farm laborers on the H-2A visa.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.