This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement came into effect on July 1, and three states increased their minimum wages. The unemployment rate went down to 11.1 percent. The federal government also took Friday off to celebrate Independence Day, though that didn’t stop the 2020 Federal Register from topping 40,000 pages on Thursday. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from cellulose products to Texas onion tax cuts.

On to the data:

  • Last week, in a four-day week, 57 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 82 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 57 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,568 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,063 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,113 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,174 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,191 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 383 notices, for a total of 11,386 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,652 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,344 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,409 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 40,084 pages. It is on pace for 78,290 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 31 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 303 new rules affect small businesses; 12 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.