The number of new final regulations this year will pass 3,000 this week, with more than three weeks still to go. The Omicron variant gave the country an education in the Greek alphabet, though it is too early to tell if it will be particularly harmful. New job numbers provided further evidence that the big spending bills are unnecessary, and that it is well past time for policy makers to begin tamping down inflation. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from Egyptian artifacts to imported goats.
On to the data:
- Agencies issued 67 final regulations last week, after 59 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 31 minutes.
- With 2,991 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 47 the previous week.
- With 1,927 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,095 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,222 proposed regulations.
- Agencies published 357 notices last week, after 399 notices the previous week.
- With 20,481 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,262 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
- Last week, 1,224 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,496 pages the previous week.
- The average Federal Register issue this year contains 299 pages.
- With 68,874 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 74,863 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 24 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 $8.83 billion to $13.72 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 340 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with five in the last week. This is on pace for 370 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
- In 2021, 823 new rules affect small businesses; 87 are classified as significant. 2020’s totals were 668 rules affecting small businesses, 26 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new regulations:
- A correction to recent energy conservation testing rules for central air conditioners and heat pumps.
- Lawyers’ ears are surely perking up about a new rule for vaccine injury settlements for pregnant women.
- And another one regarding court orders for pesticide-caused deaths and disabilities.
- Five new rules for classifying medical devices.
- A universal proxy card for shareholder votes.
- Vaccine and mask requirements for Head Start programs.
- A 45-day extension of an emergency COVID-19 vaccination and testing standard.
- Uniform auditing requirements for agencies.
- Bolivian archaeological artifacts.
- Egyptian archaeological artifacts.
- Accrediting food analysis laboratories.
- Imported goats.
- Animal handling contingency plans. as Mike Chase explained in How to Become a Federal Criminal, this regulation has mired magicians with rabbits and other animal handlers in mountains of paperwork and even thrown some out of work. This rule was temporarily revoked, and is now restored.