This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Fuel pump GettyImages-941307612

Thursday’s Federal Register was not published online until late in the evening due to a technical error. Friday’s edition did not appear until the afternoon. Both editions are more than 1,000 pages each; an average day is under 300 pages. The 2020 Federal Register passed 25,000 pages, and is poised to surpass last year’s page count by more than 1,000 pages. The number of final regulations in 2020 also passed the 1,000 barrier. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging from fuel economy to seasonal workers.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 48 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 55 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 30 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,036 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,048 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,150 regulations.
  • There were also 49 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 733 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,156 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 425 notices, for a total of 7,414 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,806 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 3,112 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,464 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 26,318 pages. It is on pace for 77,405 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. Three 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 $1.38 billion and $4.19 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 24 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 202 new rules affect small businesses; nine 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.