This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

There were 63 final regulations and 28 proposed regulations last week, but again, few of them amounted to much. We’ll have more to say on this soon in a future post, but the 60-day regulatory freeze still seems to be mostly in effect, at least unofficially. New rules that did pass range from financial data to infant bathtubs.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 63 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 67 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 731 final regulations in 2017. At that pace, there will be 2,996 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,853 regulations.
  • Last week, 986 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 791 pages the previous week.
  • The 2017 Federal Register totals 16,091 pages. It is on pace for 65,947 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts skips, jumps, and blank pages) is 96,994, set last year. The unadjusted count was 97,110 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Seven such rules have been published this year, none in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2016’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.8 billion to $13.2 billion.
  • Agencies have published 104 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • In 2017, 162 new rules affected small businesses; 36 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is updating reporting policies for EDGAR, its in-house system for collecting certain electronic reports from financial firms.
  • New safety standards for infant bath tubs.
  • Requirements to submit prior notice of imported food.
  • Good regulatory practices: a correction to a typo in an earlier version of upcoming air conditioner and heat pump energy standards. Leaving it unfixed could have caused many legal and regulatory headaches down the road. A recent court case on a separate issue famously hinged on an attorney’s unwise choice to not use an Oxford comma, thereby rendering the wording ambiguous. So good on the Energy Department for quickly correcting its mistake. Little things matter.

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

EXCERPT: 63 new regulations last week, from financial data to infant bathtubs.