This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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August’s 2020 disaster list so far includes a massive warehouse explosion in Beirut that killed more than 100 people and Hurricane Isaias. In positive news, Congress is out on its August recess, but could reconvene once the next COVID spending bill is negotiated. Bob and Doug, who in June became world social distancing champions by piloting SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle to the International Space Station, returned safely to Earth. They may well wish their trip had lasted longer. Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from patent fees to squid specifications.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 51 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 54 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 18 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 1,931 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,160 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 41 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,326 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,169 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,167 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 444 notices, for a total of 13,159 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,502 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,467 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,473 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 48,072 pages. It is on pace for 78,550 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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 41 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 380 new rules affect small businesses; 15 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.