Just another week in the world of regulation:
- 77 new final rules were published last week, down from 84 the previous week. That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 11 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All in all, 1,790 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year. If this keeps up, the total tally for 2012 will be 3,765 new rules.
- 1,633 new pages were added to the 2012 Federal Register last week, for a total of 37,694 pages. At this pace, the 2012 Federal Register will run 77,881 pages.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. The 25 such rules published so far in 2012 have compliance costs of at least $14.5 billion. Two of the rules do not have cost estimates, and a third cost estimate does not give a total annual cost. We assume that rules lacking this basic transparency measure cost the bare minimum of $100 million per year. The true cost is almost certainly higher.
- One economically significant rule was published last week. So far, 203 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2012.
- So far this year, 340 final rules affect small businesses. 55 of them are significant rules.
Highlights from final rules published last week:
- Last week’s economically significant regulation is intended to prevent prison rape. Some people might snicker at the topic, but rape is emphatically not a laughing matter. The price tag for this rule is $6.9 billion from 2012-2026, or an average of $486.5 million per year. With about 2.3 million people incarcerated nationwide, that’s a little over $200 per prisoner per year.
- The 70,000-page tax code got a little longer on Monday, and again on Friday.
- The Transportation Department is revising its program for disadvantaged airport concession workers.
- The western snowy plover, an endangered bird, is the recipient of 24,257 acres of critical habitat and a new taxonomy, courtesy of the Fish and Wildlife Service. The former Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus is now known as Charadrius nivosus nivosus.
For more data, go to TenThousandCommandments.com.