This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Former President Trump’s impeachment trial was the big new story, though there is little suspense about the outcome. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from Irish potatoes to lithographic printing.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 54 final regulations last week, after 53 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and seven minutes.
  • With 346 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,089 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,353 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 34 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 23 the previous week.
  • With 170 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 1,518 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,149 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 374 notices last week, after 392 notices the previous week.
  • With 2,458 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,946 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 894 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 920 pages the previous week.
  • With 9,432 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 84,214 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, and none from the last week. 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 eight final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, none in the last week. This is on pace for 71 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 20 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.