This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Washington’s attention flitted back and forth between beginning work on a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill and a brewing sex scandal allegedly involving Rep. Matt Gaetz and a 17-year-old girl. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from shrimp trawlers to the Community Forest Program.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 48 final regulations last week, after 49 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 30 minutes.
  • With 808 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,258 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 62 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 50 the previous week.
  • With 553 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,230 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 422 notices last week, after 328 notices the previous week.
  • With 5,429 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,891 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 984 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 883 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 282 pages.
  • With 17,492 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,532 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 13 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the last week. This is on pace for 52 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 142 new rules affect small businesses. Three 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.