This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution to fund the government through March 11. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from potato marketing to airplane seats.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 64 final regulations last week, after 68 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 38 minutes.
  • With 435 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,199 final regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 3,257 new final regulations in 2021, President Biden’s first year, and 3,218 in 2020, President Trump’s final year.
  • Agencies issued 40 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 44 the previous week.
  • With 293 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,154 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021 and 2,102 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 448 notices last week, after 442 notices the previous week.
  • With 3,021 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,213 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,480.
  • Last week, 1,283 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,378 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 276 pages.
  • With 9,373 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 68,919 pages.
  • For comparison, the 2021 Federal Register totals 74,352 pages, and 2020’s is 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 three such rules so far in 2021, none from the last week.
  • This is on pace for 22 economically significant regulations in 2022.
  • For comparison, there were 26 economically significant rules in 2021, and five in 2020.
  • The total cost of 2022’s economically significant regulations so far is $187 million. However, only one of the three such rules issued this year gives the required cost estimates, so this figure is incomplete.
  • For comparison, the running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules ranges from $13.54 billion to $19.36 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.
  • There are 33 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. This is on pace for 243 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021, and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 125 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 919. Twelve of them are significant, on pace for 88.
  • For comparison, there were 912 rules in 2021 affecting small businesses, with 101 of them 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.