This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
The Senate passed the big budget reconciliation bill last week on a 50-50 tie broken by Vice President Harris. This week will see the impeachment trial of former President Trump over his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from government ethics fees to Super Bowl safety zones.
On to the data:
- Agencies issued 53 final regulations last week, after 23 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 10 minutes.
- With 288 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,130 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,353 final regulations.
- Agencies issued 23 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 2 the previous week.
- With 136 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 1,478 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,149 proposed regulations.
- Agencies published 392 notices last week, after 312 notices the previous week.
- With 2,084 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,652 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
- Last week, 920 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 789 pages the previous week.
- With 8,536 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 92,783 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, none in the last week. This is on pace for 76 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
- In 2021, 17 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:
- The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
- Inflation-adjusted penalties from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- And the Education Department.
- And the Merit Systems Protection Board.
- And the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
- And the State Department.
- And the Natural Resources Revenue Office.
- And the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
- And the Government Ethics Office.
- And the National Indian Gaming Commission.
- Heat output from energy cells.
- Rating disabilities.
- The Labor Department is withdrawing a regulation regarding H-2B visas. The reason is due to a public comment pointing out problems with the rule—engaging the system sometimes works.
- Energy conservation tests for electric motors.
- Guidance document procedures from the Energy Department.
- A delay in electronic authorizations under the Medicare Part D program.
- Limits on construction permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone around the Super Bowl.
- The definition of a mortgage.
- Buy American rules for the Defense Department.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.