Federal Register weekly update: New year, new significant rules

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.

The Federal Register kicked off 2021 by publishing 1,736 pages during the week of Jan. 4 to Jan. 8. Over the same period in 2020, 2019, and 2018, the Federal Register published 418 pages, 34 pages, and 704 pages, respectively. As of Jan. 8, the 2021 total led the 2020 total by 1,318 pages, the 2019 total by 1,702 pages, and the 2018 total by 1,032 pages. 

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 486 documents:

  • 403 notices
  • seven presidential documents
  • 24 proposed rules
  • 52 final rules

One proposed rule concerning critical habitat designation for the ringed seal and two final rules regarding the determination of certain pension liabilities and corrections to holiday leave policies for U.S. personal services contractors were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to 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 2021 has issued one significant proposed rule and two significant final rules.

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 2019, 2018, and 2017: Changes to the Federal Register

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2018