This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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COVID-19 deaths passed 200,000 in the United States, and are roughly 1 million worldwide. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing sparked a fresh Supreme Court battle. A grand jury declined to press murder charges against the Louisville police officers who killed Breonna Taylor, sparking unrest and reopening conversations about police reform. The 2020 Federal Register topped 60,000 pages. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from Cuban assets to shrimp trawlers.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 69 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 99 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 26 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,397 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,121 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 55 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,617 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,105 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,146 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 416 notices, for a total of 16,505 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,491 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,509 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 3,012 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 60,682 pages. It is on pace for 79,013 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 54 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 478 new rules affect small businesses; 20 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.