This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

It was a rough week. Coronavirus infections and deaths continued to climb. Wall Street is officially in a bear market, and Congress and President Trump are considering all manner of unwise flash policies. All the major sports leagues postponed or canceled their seasons and tournaments, which will make quarantines even more difficult for many people. Even Disneyland is closed for the time being. Meanwhile, agencies issued new final regulations ranging from refrigerants to immigrant DNA.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 62 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 59 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 43 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 621 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,105 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were also 35 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 428 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,140 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,184 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 420 notices, for a total of 4,285 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 21,425 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,258 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,284 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 14,732 pages. It is on pace for 73,660 pages. The 2019 total was 76,288 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. Two such rules have been published this year. Four such rules were published in 2019.
  • The running cost tally for 2020’s economically significant regulations ranges from net savings of between $180 million and $4.69 billion. 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 16 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 120 new rules affect small businesses; six 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.

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