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This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The impeachment trial continued, Brexit happened, President Trump signed the USMCA trade agreement, and the 2020 Federal Register topped 5,000 pages. Agencies issued new final regulations ranging from rice inspection fees to a Hurricane in Alabama.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 52 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 44 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours and 14 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 235 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 2,798 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 38 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 164 on the year. At that pace, there will be 1,953 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,106 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 567 notices, for a total of 1,725 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 20,536 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,331 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,338 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 5,901 pages. It is on pace for 71,204 pages. The 2019 total was 70,250 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 nine final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 36 new rules affect small businesses; two of them are 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.