This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Happy new year, everyone. We made it. 2020 was rough, but as I argued last week, it was not the worst year ever. 2020 was also the rare year where the work week and the calendar year both ended on the same day, which makes this week’s regulation roundup a lot easier. For the some of the year-long totals, see my earlier post and Wayne Crews’s Forbesarticle. This post will concentrate on week-long totals. Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from pale cyst nematodes to tipping.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 58 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register in a four-day week, after 53 the previous (three-day) week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.
  • Federal agencies  issued 3,353 final regulations in 2020. 2019’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 20 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 2,149 on the year. 2019’s total was 2,158 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 386 notices, for a total of 22,480 in 2020. 2019’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 3,150 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,326 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 87,352 pages, the second-highest of all-time and the largest from a Republican president. 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. Agencies published five such rules in 2020, and four 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 published 79 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • In 2020, 668 new rules affect small businesses; 26 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, 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.