This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
The rate of new coronavirus cases increased last week, adding a note of caution to tentative efforts at reopening. Regulatory agencies issued new final regulations ranging from Florida bats to heraldic items.
On to the data:
- Last week, 53 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 71 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 10 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 1,374 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,013 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were also 53 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,019 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,235 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 410 notices, for a total of 10,071 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,086 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 1,178 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,976 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 36,137 pages. It is on pace for 79,248 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, 268 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 regulations:
- A new EPA regulation intended to increase transparency in its cost-benefit analysis.
- Tax treatment of “certain medical care arrangements.”
- With major tech company antitrust cases coming up soon, the Postal Service has a new regulation for “Market Dominant Products.”
- How to handle spearmint oil produced in the Far West.
- In a surprisingly timely rule, the Land Management Bureau is updating its regulations for handling protests against its decisions.
- A request for comments on suspending arms trafficking regulations during the coronavirus crisis.
- The Agriculture Department has a correction to its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
- The Army Department has a Dungeons and Dragons-sounding new regulation for the “Manufacture, Sale, Wear, and Quality Control of Heraldic Items.”
- The Commodity and Futures Trading Commission is updating its bankruptcy regulations.
- Energy conservation standards for vending meachines.
- A new excise tax on non-profit executive salaries over $1 million per year.
- And for commercial prerinse spray valves.
- And for water heaters.
- Looser bear-hunting rules for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
- The Postal Service has a semipostal stamp program.
- New anti-robocall rules from the FCC.
- Testing regulations for room air conditioners’ energy efficiency.
- The FCC is reopening the comment period for its rule for exposure to radio waves. It is now open through June 17.
- The IRS is partially withdrawing a recent rule defining the term “qualifying relative.”
- Tomato handling requirements.
- The Florida bonneted bat is receiving approximately 1,478,333 acres of critical habitat.
- The Borax Lake chub is no longer an endangered species.
- Updates to the list of allowed and prohibited substances in raising organic livestock.
- Sulfur from stationary boilers.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.