This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
The 2024 election season officially began on Wednesday. The 2020 Federal Register topped 70,000 pages right on election day, and is on pace to be the Trump era’s largest by more than 11,000 pages. The usual midnight rush that accompanies a change in power could push that number even higher. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from semichemical emissions to riding electric bikes in water.
On to the data:
- Last week, 70 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 55 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 24 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 2,819 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,263 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were 54 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,874 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,169 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,169 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 469 notices, for a total of 19,233 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,260 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 2,103 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,486 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 71,211 pages. It is on pace for 82,421 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 63 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 561 new rules affect small businesses; 24 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:
- There is a new Executive Office for Immigration Review.
- More rules for swap transactions.
- EPA rules for how to group crops.
- Whistleblower program rules at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Tamarin seed gum is now an allowable substance in organic-labeled foods.
- Wage rates for immigrant farm workers on H-2A visas.
- Non-discrimination rules in education.
- Updated postal products.
- Mining regulations for West Virginia.
- Semichemical pulp mill emissions.
- Tax deduction rules for foreign income.
- Emissions standards for phosphoric acid manufacturing.
- High speed rail safety standards for the Central Texas Railroad.
- The gray wolf is no longer an endangered species.
- Rules for crash test dummies meant to represent three-year-olds.
- Oddly specific rules for donating surplus federal property to veteran-owned small businesses in disaster-stricken areas of Puerto Rico.
- New DEA rules for opiates.
- New guidance document policies at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Electric bicycles in national parks.
- Electric bicycles in other federal lands and waters. Yes, waters.
- Electric bicycles in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- New rules to prevent fraud in the SNAP program for food assistance.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.