This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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In the news last week, the Justice Department filed an antitrust case against Google. It is the highest-profile antitrust case since the 1998-2002 Microsoft case. There was another presidential debate, this time featuring a mute button. The OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft landed on an asteroid 200 million miles away, collected a rock sample, and is now returning to Earth. A New Yorker journalist took out his Toobin during a Zoom call, while Rudy Giuliani got in trouble for apparently almost doing something similar. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from allulose to off-road vehicles.

On to the data:
• Last week, 62 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 71 the previous week.
• That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 43 minutes.
• Federal agencies have issued 2,694 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,269 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
• There were 37 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,781 for 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 441 notices, for a total of 18,290 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,197 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
• Last week, 1,439 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,823 pages the previous week.
• The 2020 Federal Register totals 67,619 pages. It is on pace for 82,062 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 60 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
• So far in 2020, 532 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:

• Amendment 11 for shrimp fisheries.
• The Rural Energy Savings Program.
• The Agency for International Development is waiving some of its national sourcing rules for COVID-19 supplies. The rest of the government should do the same, immediately.
• Rates for inmates’ phone calls.
• Video calling for 911.
• Travel restrictions for ferries between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada.
• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “is amending its regulations to remove barriers to the participation of distributed energy resource aggregations in the capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators (RTO/ISO).”
• New rules to reduce the number of people who may seek asylum in the United States.
• Nuclear safety management.
• The declaration of allulose on nutrition labels.
• Rules for pressuring prison inmates for legal documents.
• Off-road vehicle use.
• Training midshipmen.
• The Environmental Protection Agency has new guidance document policies.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.