This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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COVID-19 cases are finally in decline as vaccinations continue, to the point where there is reason for cautious optimism. Congress was busy with a stimulus bill, which will apparently not include a $15 minimum wage. Agencies issued new rules ranging from lumber education to satellite service.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 123 final regulations last week, after 37 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 22 minutes.
  • With 499 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,372 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,353 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 87 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 13 the previous week.
  • With 270 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 1,824 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,149 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 465 notices last week, after 384 notices the previous week.
  • With 3,307 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,345 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,405 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a four-day week, after 1,005 pages the previous week.
  • With 11,845 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 80,034 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, 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 nine final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the last week. This is on pace for 60 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 73 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.