CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

by Ryan Young on December 16, 2013

in Features, Regulation

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The local equivalent of winter weather closed down the federal government last Tuesday, but that day’s Federal Register was still an impressive 1,221 pages, easily one of the year’s largest.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 56 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 95 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every three hours.
  • All in all, 3,474 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2013 will be 3,619 new final rules.
  • Last week, 2,339 new pages were added to the 2013 Federal Register, for a total of 75,432 pages. This year’s Federal Register is already the 7th largest in its 78-year history.
  • At its current pace, the 2013 Federal Register will run 78,575 pages, which would be good for fifth all time. The current record is 81,405 pages, set in 2010.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Three such rules were published last week, for a total of 40 so far in 2013.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of this year’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.42 billion to $11.83 billion.
  • So far, 315 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2013.
  • So far this year, 683 final rules affect small business; 98 of them are significant rules.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • Two of this week’s economically significant rules (1, 2) are from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Both rules affect spending and not compliance costs, so I am scoring them as zero-cost in our running compliance cost tally. The second rule’s cost estimate in particular stands out for its opacity.
  • The third economically significant rule also involves health care, but it comes from the Defense Department. It also affects spending but not compliance costs, so I am scoring it as zero-cost. It estimates savings to the DoD of $120 million, plus $28 million in reduced copayments.
  • Some time ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established speed limits for larger ships to prevent collisions with North Atlantic right whales. The rule came with a sunset, meaning it would automatically expire after a certain amount of time. On Monday, the NOAA removed the sunset, making the rule permanent.
  • New safety standards for infant bath seats, toddler beds, and full-size baby cribs.
  • The Fish and Wildlife Service issues eagle permits.

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

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