This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The 2021 Federal Register surpassed 50,000 pages in a short Labor Day week. Fresh off a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, Congress began work on a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which will in turn be followed by a roughly $6 trillion budget bill. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from floating cabins to shipping human blood.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 59 final regulations last week, after 72 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 51 minutes.
  • With 2,250 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,251 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 29 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 39 the previous week.
  • With 1,466 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,118 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,021 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 354 notices last week, after 467 notices the previous week.
  • With 15,203 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 21,970 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 931 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,604 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 294 pages.
  • With 50,833 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 73,461 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 nine 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 $1.42 billion to $4.81 billion. 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 293 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with two in the last week. This is on pace for 423 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 622 new rules affect small businesses. 78 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.