This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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It was a four-day week for the Federal Register in honor of Veterans Day. In the news, inflation reached a 30-year high, President Biden signed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill into law, and a United States senator got his feathers in a bunch over Big Bird’s vaccination status. Agencies issued new rules ranging from turtle excluder devices to the United Soybean Board.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 52 final regulations last week, after 63 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 14 minutes.
  • With 2,750 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,228 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 34 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 33 the previous week.
  • With 1,810 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,085 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,222 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 343 notices last week, after 495 notices the previous week.
  • With 19,254 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,182 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,225 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,505 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 291 pages.
  • With 62,891 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 72,455 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 18 such rules so far in 2021, two 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 $5.42 billion to $9.26 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 353 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with four in the last week. This is on pace for 407 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 773 new rules affect small businesses; 89 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.