This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Thanksgiving was rather different than most years, and not in a good way. Hopefully, with viable vaccines on the way, it will be back to normal in 2021. The number of new final regulations this year passed the 3,000 mark, and has already surpassed last year’s total with more than a month to go. The 2020 Federal Register surpassed 76,000 pages, and is already the Trump administration’s longest by more than 5,000 pages.Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from milk flexibilities to electronic groundfish monitoring.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 73 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 69 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 18 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 3,025 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,302 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 35 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,984 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,166 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,170 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 406 notices, for a total of 20,392 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,262 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,821 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,692 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 76,417 pages. It is on pace for 83,424 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. Five 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 $2.04 billion and $5.69 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 70 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 597 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:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.