This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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It was a four-day week due to Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day—the controversy over which was just one of the things people were outraged about during the week. Bad judgment by Twitter content moderators caused a bipartisan flash mob to demand that the government regulate political speech. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett had her confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from real estate appraisals to Brazilian steel.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 71 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 91 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 41 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,632 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,273 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 43 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,744 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,161 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,169 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 406 notices, for a total of 17,849 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,200 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,823 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,834 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 66,199 pages. It is on pace for 82,337 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. Four 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 $1.19 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 59 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 526 new rules affect small businesses; 21 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.