This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The midnight regulatory rush is on, with one of the year’s highest weekly page counts last week. The 2020 Federal Register is on pace for 84,415 pages. This would exceed seven of the Obama administration’s eight Federal Registers, and would be the second-highest count in its 85-year history. The number of proposed regulations also passed 2,000 for the year. Despite all this activity, the Fall 2020 Unified Agenda, in which rulemaking agencies disclose their planned upcoming rules, has still not been published. It was due in October. Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from AM radio to overflight fines.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 65 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 73 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 35 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 3,090 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,314 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 37 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 2,021 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,168 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,170 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 412 notices, for a total of 20,804 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,315 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 2,278 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,821 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 78,697 pages. It is on pace for 84,415 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. Five 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 $2.04 billion and $5.69 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 73 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 605 new rules affect small businesses; 24 of them are classified as significant. 2019’s totals were 501 rules affecting small businesses, with 22 of them classified as significant.

Highlights from last week’s new regulations:

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

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