The Midwest froze, but the Federal Register began to heat up. As I predicted earlier, the first three post-shutdown editions were slow. Then Thursday’s edition alone had 220 agencies notices and 447 pages, both well above normal levels. Thursday also saw the year’s first economically significant regulation, a 70-pager for H-1B visa applicants. On February 1, the Federal Register cracked 1,000 pages, which might be the latest date that has happened since 1959. See the historical table on p. 74 the current edition of Ten Thousand Commandments for more. Other new rules from the week range from Navy signals to external power supplies.
On to the data:
- Last week, 34 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 4 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 4 hours and 57 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 50 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 569 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 334 notices, for a total of 603 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 6,853 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
- Last week, 934 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 211 pages the previous week.
- The 2019 Federal Register totals 1,341 pages. It is on pace for 15,239 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 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 have been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.
- The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.
- Agencies have published one final rule meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
- So far in 2019, 5 new rules affect small businesses; one of them is classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 of them significant.
All of last week’s new final regulations:
- The year’s first economically significant regulation is 70-pages of rules for applying for an H-1B visa. The cost accounting is absolutely opaque; the best I could suss out is that it will cost an expected $139.1 million to $175.8 million this year.
- The Navy is removing some regulations regarding signal lights.
- Competitive Postal Products.
- 2019’s first regulation for preventing collisions at sea.
- The Defense Department is removing a rule regarding compensation for Vietnam detainees.
- Medicare payment revisions.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration is adding another substance to its Schedule I list. As with other Schedule I controlled substances, people will almost certainly stop using it now, with no black market activity whatsoever.
- Power usage for external power supplies.