This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
The last week saw another political convention, another police shooting, and two hurricanes. There was at least one major positive story, though. Polio has finally been eradicated from Africa, one of the last places on Earth where people were still suffering from it. It now exists only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from respirators to orbital debris.
On to the data:
- Last week, 68 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 78 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 28 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 2,129 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,168 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were 65 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,445 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,169 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,146 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 468 notices, for a total of 14,830 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,068 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 1,618 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,082 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 53,644 pages. It is on pace for 79,828 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 48 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 427 new rules affect small businesses; 18 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:
- The Food and Nutrition Service has new policies for Freedom of Information Act requests.
- Non-payroll loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Act.
- Appeals of the Small Business Administration’s lending decisions under the Paycheck Protection Act.
- Social Security Administration is waiving repayment requirements for recent overpayments it has made.
- With the drug war such a smashing success, the DEA is making ethylpentylone a Schedule I controlled substance.
- Contractors doing business with NASA or the Defense Department must now use approved telecommunications equipment.
- Managed energy exports through the year 2050.
- The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has established a new viticultural area in California.
- Ethical standards for National Labor Relations Board employees. In maybe, maybe-not related news, a former United Auto Workers (UAW) president was charged with embezzlement the day before this rule appeared. He is the second UAW head charged in a larger investigation that has so far led to 14 convictions.
- Guidance document policies from the Railroad Retirement Board.
- And from the Department of Labor.
- And the National Endowment for the Arts.
- The EPA has revoked a “significant new use rule for a certain chemical substance.”
- Food stamps.
- Spectrum horizons.
- A new Federal Communications Commssion rule for orbital debris.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.