THIS WEEK IN RIDICULOUS REGULATIONS

The weekly round-up from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for breaking up the company; CEI’s Iain Murray and Kent Lassman explain why that’s a bad idea. CEI also released the 2019 edition of “Ten Thousand Commandments.” On Friday, President Trump enacted a new 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from tariff applications to habitat descriptions.

On to the data:

Last week, 58 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 53 the previous week.

That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 54 minutes.

Federal agencies have issued 925 final regulations in 2019. At that pace, there will be 2,542 new final regulations. Last year’s total was 3,367 regulations.

Last week, agencies published 434 notices, for a total of 7,618 in 2019. At that pace, there will be 20,929 new notices this year. Last year’s total was 22,205.

Last week, 1,081 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,746 pages the previous week.

The 2019 Federal Register totals 20,764 pages. It is on pace for 57,044 pages. The 2018 total was 68,082 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. One such rule has been published this year. Six such rules were published in 2018.

The running compliance cost tally for 2019’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $139.1 million to $175.8 million. The 2018 total ranges from $220.1 million to $2.54 billion, depending on discount rates and other assumptions.

Agencies have published 27 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” so far this year. 2018’s total was 108 significant final rules.

So far in 2019, 167 new rules affect small businesses; 11 of them are classified as significant. 2018’s totals were 660 rules affecting small businesses, with 29 of them significant.

Highlights from last week’s new final regulations:

Commercials for Medicare of Medicaid-eligible drugs will now be required to include a list price. Possible unintended consequence: drug companies might decline to ask for Medicare or Medicaid coverage for certain drugs.

Reserve requirements for banks.

Water carrier tariff filing procedures.

A fentanyl-based drug is being placed in schedule I, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s most severe controlled substance category.

An increase in H-2B visas for non-immigrants.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is revising its definitions of species’ protected habitat. Basically, they’re going for less text description and relying more on maps.

Another spearmint oil regulation. That’s 162 since 1994.

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