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This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The new year started off with a literal bang, though as of this writing the worst Iran scenario seems to have been avoided. The Senate is poised to move on its two biggest items, impeachment and the USMCA trade agreement, though the timelines for both are uncertain. On the regulatory front, the 2020 Federal Register took just five working days to exceed 1,000 pages. New final regulations for the week range from air compressors to beef promotion.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 62 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 48 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 20 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 83 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 2,965 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 28 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 41 on the year. At that pace, there will be 1,465 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,106 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 281 notices, for a total of 412 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 14,715 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,308 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,194 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 1,730 pages. It is on pace for 61,786 pages. The 2019 total was 72,561 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. One such rule has been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations is currently zero. 2019’s total ranges from net savings of $350 million to $650 million, mostly from estimated savings on federal spending. The exact number depends on discount rates and other assumptions.
  • Agencies have published three final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 12 new rules affect small businesses; one of them is classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:

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