Scientists may have found potential chemical evidence of life on Venus—phosphine gas, which in Venusian conditions may well have been produced by anaerobic (non-oxygen-using) microbes. No life forms have been directly observed, and phosphine is also present in the atmospheres of lifeless Jupiter and Saturn, but that is still a pretty big deal. In more earthly realms, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from watermelon promotion to natural gas emissions.
On to the data:
- Last week, 99 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 31 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every one hour and 42 minutes.
- Federal agencies have issued 2,328 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,198 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
- There were 55 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 1,568 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,154 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,146 proposed regulations.
- Last week, agencies published 449 notices, for a total of 16,089 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,100 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
- Last week, 3,012 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,112 pages the previous week.
- The 2020 Federal Register totals 59,172 pages. It is on pace for 81,280 pages. The 2019 total was 70,938 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. Four 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 $1.19 billion and $4.19 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 54 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
- So far in 2020, 462 new rules affect small businesses; 20 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 regulations:
- Economic analysis of organic standards for poultry and livestock.
- Bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis.
- Preventing sexual assault in the military.
- Framework Adjustment 12 for monkfish.
- Digital music copyrights.
- And royalties.
- The automatic enrollment program for federal retirement saving programs will be set at 5 percent of pay, up from the current 3 percent.
- The fourth economically significant regulation of 2020 concerns income projections for retirement funds.
- Drain covers for pools.
- COVID-related paid medical leave.
- Storing tanks underground in Kentucky.
- 988 is now a universal 3-digit number for suicide prevention hotlines. If you are having those sorts of troubles, please seek help through this or other means.
- Expanding the use of the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz wireless spectrum.
- Some flight arrival restrictions are ending.
- Financial crimes enforcement.
- The federal government is getting involved in the content of school textbooks.
- Natural gas emissions.
- The federal government is realigning its Watermelon Research and Promotion Plan.
- Energy conservation tests for fluorescent lamp ballasts.
- New guidance document procedures for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Fighting robocalls.
For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.