This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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One sign that the worst of COVID is likely now past is that instead of disease and economic hardship, people got riled up over Mr. Potato’s manhood and the Dr. Seuss estate’s business decisions. Of course, this type of normalcy isn’t very healthy, either. Agencies issued new rules ranging from sleep aids to ship surveyors in Puerto Rico.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 60 final regulations last week, after 123 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 48 minutes.
  • With 559 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,372 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 47 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 87 the previous week.
  • With 317 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 1,887 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,149 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 428 notices last week, after 465 notices the previous week.
  • With 3,735 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,232 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,300 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,405 pages the previous week.
  • With 13,247 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 78.256 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 none in the last week. This is on pace for 54 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 80 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.