This week in ridiculous regulations: Independent contractors and emergency haddock action

Photo Credit: Getty

Happy MLK-government snow shutdown days, everyone. There was more shutdown drama last week. The US launched strikes against the Houthis, one of three factions trying to control Yemen’s government, and which has been attacking commercial ships passing through the Red Sea. The number of new final regulations in the new year topped 100, and Federal Register pages topped 2,000. Agencies issued new regulations ranging from rural smoke alarms to potato boards.

 On to the data:

  • Agencies issued 65 final regulations last week, after 38 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • With 103 final regulations so far in 2024, agencies are on pace to issue 2,861 final regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 3,018 new final regulations in 2023, 3,168 in 2022, and 3,257 in 2021.
  • Agencies issued 27 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, after 19 the previous week.
  • With 46 proposed regulations so far in 2024, agencies are on pace to issue 1,278 proposed regulations this year.
  • For comparison, there were 2,102 proposed regulations in 2023, 2,044 in 2022, and 2,094 in 2021.
  • Agencies published 407 notices last week, after 240 notices the previous week.
  • With 647 notices so far in 2024, agencies are on pace to issue 17,972 notices this year.
  • For comparison, there were 22,902 notices in 2023, 22,505 in 2022, and 20,018 in 2021.
  • Last week, 1,620 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 857 pages the previous week.
  • The average Federal Register issue in 2024 contains 276 pages.
  • With 2,480 pages so far, the 2024 Federal Register is on pace for 68,889 pages.
  • For comparison, the 2023 Federal Register totals 90,402 pages, the 2022 Federal Register has 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 with $200 million or more of economic effects in at least one year qualify as major under Section 3(f)(1). This replaces the former economically significant tag for $100 million-plus regulations. There are no such rules so far in 2024.
  • This is on pace for zero 3(f)(1) regulations in 2024. This will change.
  • For comparison, there were 28 3(f)(1) and/or economically significant regulations in 2023, 43 economically significant rules in 2022, and 26 in 2021. Note that these are not apples-to-apples comparisons, since 3(f)(1) and economically significant rules have different thresholds.
  • The total estimated cost of 2024’s 3(f)(1) major regulations is zero, since none have been issued yet, according to numbers self-reported by the government.
  • For comparison, the cost tally for 2023’s 3(f)(1) major and economically significant regulations ranges from $62.60 billion to 90.48 billion. Cost estimates for 2022’s economically significant rules range $45.28 billion to $78.05 billion. In 2021, net costs ranged from $13.54 billion to $1992 billion. The exact numbers depend on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • There were four regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant” last week, after two the previous week.
  • So far this year, there are six new regulations meeting the broader definition of “significant.” This is on pace for 167 significant regulations in 2024.
  • For comparison, there were 290 such regulations in 2023, 255 in 2022, and 387 in 2021.
  • So far in 2024, 35 new regulations affect small businesses, on pace for 972. Two of them are significant, on pace for 56.
  • For comparison, in 2023 there were 789 regulations affecting small businesses, 79 of them significant. In 2022 there were 912 regulations affecting small businesses, 70 of them significant. 2021’s totals were 912 regulations affecting small businesses, 101 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:

And from last week’s proposed regulations:

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