This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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The Federal Register took Christmas Eve off, and here’s hoping everyone had a happy holiday season. One more week to go in 2021. The Food and Drug Administration finally approved at-home COVID-19 pills. November’s consumer spending growth slowed from October, but still grew. Meanwhile, agencies issued new rules ranging from fragrance components to blueberry councils.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 63 final regulations last week, after 74 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes.
  • With 3,205 final regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 3,257 final regulations this year. 2020’s total was 3,218 final regulations.
  • Agencies issued 26 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 50 the previous week.
  • With 2,052 proposed regulations so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 2,086 proposed regulations this year. 2020’s total was 2,102 proposed regulations.
  • Agencies published 370 notices last week, after 422 notices the previous week.
  • With 21,657 notices so far in 2021, agencies are on pace to issue 22,011 notices this year. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,310 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,011 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue this year contains 300 pages.
  • With 73,103 pages so far, the 2021 Federal Register is on pace for 74,297 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 25 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 $8.94 billion to $14.06 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 372 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” in 2021, with four in the last week. This is on pace for 378 significant rules in 2021. 2020’s total was 79 significant final rules.
  • In 2021, 901 new rules affect small businesses; 97 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.