Federal Register weekly update; 11 significant final rules published so far in 2020

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From February 10 to February 14, the Federal Register grew by 1,526 pages for a year-to-date total of 8,716 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 4,676 pages and 7,106 pages, respectively. As of February 14, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 4,040 pages and the 2018 total by 1,610 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016. After President Donald Trump (R) took office in 2017, the Federal Register’s year-end page total decreased by 36.1% for a total of 61,950 pages. The page total has since increased by 9.7% in 2018 for a total of 68,082 pages and by 6.2% in 2019 for a total of 72,564 pages. It is common for the Federal Register’s annual page total to decrease during a president’s first year in office and fluctuate in subsequent years. For example, President Barack Obama’s (D) first-year page total decreased by 13.6% from the previous year, President George W. Bush’s (R) first-year page total decreased by 13.2%, and President Ronald Reagan’s (R) first-year page total decreased by 21.2%.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 539 documents:
  • 414 notices
  • Two presidential documents
  • 65 proposed rules
  • 66 final rules

Two final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they could have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued three significant proposed rules and 11 significant final rules as of February 14.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017.

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016.