This Week in Ridiculous Regulations
An Executive Order from the Biden administration made some of the biggest system-level regulatory changes in years. It raises the threshold for “economically significant” regulations from $100 million to $200 million, which reduces transparency, and changes other reporting requirements. Culture warriors spent the week getting upset at beer cans. Meanwhile, agencies issued new regulations ranging from pearl darters to Venezuela sanctions.
On to the data:
- Agencies issued 61 final regulations last week, after 75 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 45 minutes.
- With 818 final regulations so far in 2023, agencies are on pace to issue 3,007 final regulations this year.
- For comparison, there were 3,168 new final regulations in 2022, and 3,257 new final regulations in 2021.
- Agencies issued 42 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 43 the previous week.
- With 570 proposed regulations so far in 2023, agencies are on pace to issue 2,096 proposed regulations this year.
- For comparison, there were 2,044 new proposed regulations in 2022, and 2,094 in 2021.
- Agencies published 463 notices last week, after 447 notices the previous week.
- With 5,946 notices so far in 2023, agencies are on pace to issue 21,860 notices this year.
- For comparison, there were 22,505 notices in 2022, and 20,018 in 2021.
- Last week, 1,261 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,556 pages the previous week.
- The average Federal Register issue in 2023 contains 321 pages.
- With 21,860 pages so far, the 2023 Federal Register is on pace for 77,419 pages.
- For comparison, the 2022 Federal Register totals 80,756 pages, and 2021’s is 74,352 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. This will soon change to $200 million after last week’s Executive Order. There are eight such rules so far in 2023, one in the last week.
- This is on pace for 29 economically significant regulations in 2023.
- For comparison, there were 43 economically significant rules in 2022, and 26 in 2021. These comparisons will not be strictly apple-to-apple after the threshold change takes effect. This will likely lower year’s number.
- The total estimated cost of 2023’s economically significant regulations so far ranges from $55.92 billion to $78.74 billion, according to numbers self-reported by agencies.
- For comparison, the running cost tally for 2022’s economically significant rules ranges from net costs of $45.28 billion to $78.05 billion. In 2021, net costs ranged from $13.54 billion to $19.36 billion. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
- There were five regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” last week, after five the previous week.
- So far this year, there are 65 new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant.” This is on pace for 262 significant regulations in 2023.
- For comparison, there were 255 such new regulations in 2022, and 387 in 2021.
- So far in 2023, 201 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 750. Twenty of them are significant, on pace for 75.
- For comparison, in 2022 there were 912 rules affecting small businesses, 70 of them significant. 2021’s totals were 912 rules affecting small businesses, 101 of them significant.
Highlights from last week’s new regulations:
- Corrected energy conservation test rules for television sets.
- Jet engines vs. birds.
- Home confinement under the CARES Act.
- Dassault Aviation airplanes.
- Permissive use of the “Next Generation” broadcast television standard.
- Two rules for Venezuela sanctions.
- Ambulatory surgery reimbursement.
- Reduced patent fees for small entities.
- Establishment of a nonessential experimental population of the Guam kingfisher.
- The southern subspecies of the scarlet macaw, though not the entire species, is now a threatened species.
- Insider trading arrangements.
- Conduct on the CIA’s agency installations.
- Tall Ships America.
- The EPA is deferring sanctions against California’s Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District.
- This week’s economically significant is a change to benefits for Postal Service employees.
- The pearl darter, a small fish from Louisiana and Mississippi, is receiving 524 river miles of critical habitat.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.