This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
2020’s cascade of despair continued with nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer and the larger issue of systemic racism in law enforcement. Friday’s 13.3 percent unemployment rate announcement was actually good news, and says much about the more than 600 regulations waived so far at various levels of government. Regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging from phthalates to New Hampshire gas.
On to the data:
- Last week, 71 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 42 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 22 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 1,326 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,041 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were also 48 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 966 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,216 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 501 notices, for a total of 9,661 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,158 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 1,976 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,619 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 34,956 pages. It is on pace for 80,175 pages. The 2019 total was 79,267 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 28 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 258 new rules affect small businesses; 11 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 Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a new rule for Social Security number fraud prevention.
- Emission standards for engines.
- More flexible working hours for truck drivers. These limits came under fire early in the coronavirus, when grocery shortages were acute.
- Temporary CARES Act-related changes to small business lending regulations.
- Dark matter reform continues: The Department of Agriculture is updating its policies for guidance documents.
- Underground storage tanks in Louisiana.
- Phthalates in toys.
- New viticultural areas in Oregon: the Tualatin Hills and Laurelwood District areas.
- The Federal Communications Commission is issuing recommended exposure limits to radio waves. FYI, your phone falls beneath any reasonable threshold by orders of magnitude.
- Silicon dioxide in animal feed and drinking water.
- The Alcohol and Tobacco Taxing Bureau is finalizing a temporary rule from 2017 on excise taxes.
- Record keeping for swaps transactions.
- Updating the Community Reinvestment Act.
- The Veterans Affairs Department is updating its Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers in the wake of COVID-19.
- Syria sanctions.
- “Due to the receipt of adverse comments, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is withdrawing” an oil and gas regulation for New Hampshire.
- Reporting requirements to Congressional Defense Committees.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.