This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

In a remarkable human achievement, scientists took the first-ever image of a black hole. The effort took eight telescopes on five continents, five petabytes of data, and an algorithm designed by a team led by MIT grad student Katie Bouman. On a smaller scale, a forthcoming executive order could help rein in “regulatory dark matter,” a cosmological term CEI’s Wayne Crews borrowed to describe regulations that “require compliance without ever having been subject to a period of public comment and review.” Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from model airplanes to the FBI’s environmental footprint.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 83 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 33 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 703 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,476 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 455 notices, for a total of 5,758 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 20,275 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.
  • Last week, 1,286 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,745 pages the previous week.
  • The 2019 Federal Register totals 15,082 pages. It is on pace for 53,106 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 has 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 24 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2019, 129 new rules affect small businesses; 9 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 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.

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