This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Happy MLK Day, everyone. The Trump administration’s final full week was an eventful one. The president was impeached for a second time. The usual end-of-administration midnight rush resulted in 118 new regulations and 3,135 Federal Register pages. These are both roughly double the usual pace. The Trump administration’s final Federal Register will be published on Wednesday. Agencies issued new rules, ranging from airplane baggage to pecan promotion.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 118 final regulations last week, after 52 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 25 minutes.
  • With 170 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 4,250 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,353 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 50 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 24 the previous week.
  • With 74 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 1,850 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,149 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 558 notices last week, after 403 notices the previous week.
  • With 961 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 24,025 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 3,135 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,733 pages the previous week.
  • With 4,873 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for119,575 pages in 2021. The 2020 total was 87,352 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (subtracting 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. There are two such rules so far in 2021. Agencies published five economically significant rules in 2020, and four in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from $80.3 million to $293.5 million. The 2020 figure ranges from net savings of between $2.04 billion and $5.69 billion, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published five final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with three in the last week. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, seven new rules affect small businesses. One is classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

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