This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The first full week of May featured a continuing pandemic with a death toll that now exceeds the Vietnam War, the biggest unemployment increase in U.S. history, a hailstorm in the D.C. area, freezing temperatures in parts of Midwest, and murder hornets. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging from walnut reserves to organic regulations.

  1. On to the data:
  • Last week, 69 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 48 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 26 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,105 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,070 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 57 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 428 notices, for a total of 7,842 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,784 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,323 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 3,112 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 27,643 pages. It is on pace for 76,787 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, 220 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.