This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

Congress played a round of good idea-bad idea last week. Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) introduced a bill for a regulatory budget, similar to the spending budget Congress is supposed to authorize each year, while Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced antitrust legislation to overturn the notion of innocent until proven guilty for companies he doesn’t like. The 2021 Federal Register surpassed 20,000 pages, and is on pace for just more than 70,000 pages. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from helicopters to bankruptcy.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 22 final regulations last week, after 52 the previous week.
  • That is the equivalent of a new regulation every seven hours and 38 minutes.
  • With 905 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,142 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,327 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 39 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 29 the previous week.
  • With 640 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,222 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 350 notices last week, after 309 notices the previous week.
  • With 6,245 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,684 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,122 new pages were added to the Federal Register in a three-day week, after 1,205 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 281 pages.
  • With 20,248 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 70,306 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 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 14 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the past week. This is on pace for 49 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 173 new rules affect small businesses. Four 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.