This Week in Ridiculous Regulations


Lawyers are having a field day in Washington, and not just in cases involving associates of a certain member of the executive branch. Over at regulatory agencies, new regulations from the last week range from military support for special events to the economic impact of duck hunting.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 64 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 2,144 final regulations in 2018. At that pace, there will be 3,249 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,236 regulations.
  • Last week, 1,482 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,136 pages the previous week.
  • The 2018 Federal Register totals 43,419 pages. It is on pace for 65,787 pages. The all-time record adjusted page count (which subtracts 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. Five such rules have been published this year, one in the last week.
  • The running compliance cost tally for 2018’s economically significant regulations is a net savings ranging from $348.9 million to $560.9 million.
  • Agencies have published 75 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year.
  • In 2018, 363 new rules affect small businesses; 20 of them are classified as significant. 

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • Q&A with the Food and Drud Administration for food facility registration.
  • The Federal Communications Commission is updating its policies for phone number portability.
  • A correction on how to handle cranberries while in Massachusetts.
  • Designated habitat for three Hawaiian plant species. See a newly-released CEI paper for more on how the Endangered Species Act works in practice.
  • The Defense Department offers support for special events.
  • The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing its little-used Emergency Alert System.
  • A new rule from the Department of Unnecessary Abbreviations regarding BFT, otherwise known as bluefin tuna.
  • The Fish and Wildlife Service claims a new duck hunting regulation will provide $334 million to $440 million in economic benefits—the same amount, to the penny, as a different bird-hunting rule it issued a few weeks ago. Both estimates seem dubious, but I have counted them in my running compliance cost tally anyway. The two rules are the sole reason the tally shows a net reduction in compliance costs.
  • The International Prison Transfer Program.

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