This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

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Hurricanes Ian and Fiona hit Florida, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, leading to a temporary exemption to the 1920 Jones Act shipping law that hinders aid responses, and calls for a full repeal. Culture warriors spent the week getting worked up about a woman playing a flute. Agencies issued new regulations ranging from calcium carbonate to stabilizing the Balkans.

On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 61 final regulations last week, after 71 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 45 minutes.
  • With 2,362 final regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 3,124 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 30 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 36 the previous week.
  • With 1,550 proposed regulations so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 2,050 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,094 new proposed regulations in 2021, and 2,094 in 2020.
  • Agencies published 502 notices last week, after 432 notices the previous week.
  • With 16,936 notices so far in 2022, agencies are on pace to issue 22,402 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 20,018 notices in 2021. 2020’s total was 22,458.
  • Last week, 1,116 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,116 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2022 contains 317 pages.
  • With 59,631 pages so far, the 2022 Federal Register is on pace for 78,877 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 32 such rules so far in 2021, two from the last week.
  • That is on pace for 42 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 for net savings of $12.48 billion to $19.59 billion, according to numbers provided by the agencies themselves. However, this figure is incomplete. Three economically significant rules issued this year do not give the required cost estimates.
  • For comparison, the running cost tally for 2021’s economically significant rules is for net savings of $313.36 billion to net costs of $847.55 million. The 2020 figure is for 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 191 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far in 2022. That is on pace for 253 significant rules for the year.
  • For comparison, there were 387 such new regulations in 2021 and 79 in 2020.
  • So far in 2022, 656 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 861. Fifty-one of them are significant, on pace for 68.
  • 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.