This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Congress passed a $1.9 trillion spending bill, some of which may actually be COVID-related. Agencies issued new rules ranging from eastern hellbenders to reentry licenses.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 83 final regulations last week, after 60 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and one minute.
  • With 642 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,415 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 63 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 47 the previous week.
  • With 380 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 1,887 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 432 notices last week, after 428 notices the previous week.
  • With 4,167 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,165 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,069 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,300 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 302 pages.
  • With 14,216 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 75,638 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 11 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with two in the last week. This is on pace for 59 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 111 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.