This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

The big news is that the Food and Drug Administration is poised to follow several other countries’ lead in approving one or more coronavirus vaccines. [Ed.: this post was drafted last Friday morning. Vaccine approval happened over the weekend. The larger point stands.] If a mutual recognition policy was in place with any of those countries, approval would already have happened, and people would already be receiving treatment. The Fall 2020 Unified Agenda came out last week. It lists each rulemaking agency’s planned rules for the short and long-term. It was also due in October. CEI’s Wayne Crews breaks it down over at Forbes.Regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from standards for professional journalism to accountant qualifications.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 67 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 65 the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 30 minutes.
  • Federal agencies have issued 3,157 final regulations in 2020. At that pace, there will be 3,316 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 2,964 regulations.
  • There were 34 proposed regulations in the Federal Register last week, for a total of 2,055 on the year. At that pace, there will be 2,168 new proposed regulations in 2020. Last year’s total was 2,158 proposed regulations.
  • Last week, agencies published 456 notices, for a total of 21,260 in 2020. At that pace, there will be 22,327 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 21,804.
  • Last week, 1,881 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 2,278 pages the previous week.
  • The 2020 Federal Register totals 80,580 pages. It is on pace for 84,626 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 74 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2019’s total was 66 significant final rules.
  • So far in 2020, 622 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 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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