This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Hammerhead sharks GettyImages-874171586

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Consumer spending rose 8.2 percent in May, a new record that gives hope for a quicker economic recovery. On the other hand, new coronavirus cases in the last week set their own record. The virus is apparently ignoring pleas from the White House to reduce testing. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from dry pea insurance to hammerhead shark management.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 82 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 55 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and three minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,511 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,046 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 31 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,074 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,165 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,191 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 406 notices, for a total of 11,003 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,183 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,409 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,192 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 38,740 pages. It is on pace for 78,104 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 30 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 294 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:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.