This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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President Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday. With the usual end-of-administration midnight rush now over, things will likely slow down. It takes time for new appointees to settle into their new jobs and begin to implement their agendas. A new administration’s first year is typically its slowest in terms of rule and page counts. Its final year is typically its most active, especially when there is a party change. Agencies issued new rules, ranging from Buy American to the Domestic Hemp Production Program.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 46 final regulations last week, after 118 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 40 minutes.
  • With 212 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 4,077 final regulations this year. This number will likely go down as the year goes on since the new administration’s appointees need time to settle in and begin implementing their rules. 2020’s total was 3,353 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 27 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 50 the previous week.
  • With 106 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,038 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,149 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 312 notices last week, after 558 notices the previous week.
  • With 1,273 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 24,481 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,949 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 3.135 pages the previous week.
  • With 6,823 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 131,212 pages in 2021—again, this number will likely go down as the year goes on. 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 net savings of $100.7 million to net costs of $362.5 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 seven final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with four in the last week. This is on pace for 135 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 11 new rules affect small businesses. Two are 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.