This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The big news of the week was the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Senate Republicans continued their longtime strategy of bargaining with themselves by proposing $568 billion in infrastructure spending. This would leave Democrats free to use the reconciliation process on the remaining $1.4 trillion or so from their spending proposal without worrying about sacrificing any of the GOP bill’s projects in negotiations. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from parachutes to halibut sharing.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 65 final regulations last week, after 22 the previous week.
  • That is the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • With 970 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,142 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,149 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 47 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 39 the previous week.
  • With 687 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,231 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 507 notices last week, after 350 notices the previous week.
  • With 6,752 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,922 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,664 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,122 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 285 pages.
  • With 21,915 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 71,153 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 15 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2020, with one in the last week. This is on pace for 48 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 190 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.