Let the state legislative sessions begin!

Welcome to the Friday, January 6, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. By the end of the week, 18 legislatures will be in session
  2. Biden issued 29 executive orders last year
  3. The Federal Register topped 80,000 pages last year

By the end of the week, 18 legislatures will be in session

By the end of the week, 18 state legislatures will have begun their regular sessions: sessions in California and Maine began in December with 16 more starting this week. Another 27 legislatures go into session later in January. 

All 50 states will hold regular sessions this year, with the latest—in Louisiana—beginning in April.

Forty-six legislatures hold regular sessions annually. The other four states—Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas—meet in odd-numbered years.

Indiana is currently scheduled to have the shortest regular session, starting on Jan. 9 and ending on Feb. 8. Nine states have full-time legislators. While these states typically schedule a regular session, legislators could meet at any point during the year.

The average session length scheduled in 2023 is around 150 days. But stay tuned in future editions of the Brew: the dates when legislatures convene and adjourn are often adjusted before and during sessions!

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Biden issued 29 executive orders last year

President Joe Biden (D) issued 29 executive orders in 2022, the fewest any president has issued in the second year of a term since 1994 when Bill Clinton (D) issued one during his second year.

Biden has issued 106 executive orders since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021, an average of 53 per year, the second-highest since Ronald Reagan’s (R) presidency behind Donald Trump (R) who averaged 55 per year.

One hundred years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a president to issue more than 200 executive orders every year on average.

Since the country’s founding, Franklin Roosevelt (D) issued the most executive orders per year with an average of 307. 

William Henry Harrison (Whig) issued no executive orders during his one month in office. 

Three presidents issued only one executive order during their presidencies: James Madison (Democratic-Republican), James Monroe (Democratic-Republican), and John Adams (Federalist).

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The Federal Register topped 80,000 pages in 2022

During the final week of 2022, the Federal Register added 1,544 pages ending with 80,756 pages added last year. This makes 2022 the seventh-most active year since 1936.

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, accounting for regulatory and deregulatory actions.

The most recent addition to the Federal Register includes 320 notices, three presidential documents, 25 proposed rules, and 60 final rules.

Certain rules are classified as significant, meaning they have the potential to have large effects on the economy, environment, public health, or state/local governments.

The Biden administration issued 241 significant proposed rules, 252 significant final rules, and five significant notices by the end of last year.

Some of those significant additions include:

  • Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program for 2023-2025 from the Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Regulations regarding exceptions for certain interests held by foreign pension funds from the Internal Revenue Service; and,
  • A three-month delay in the implementation of planned patent fee adjustments from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of our Administrative State Project. This neutral encyclopedia resource analyzes the administrative state, its philosophical origins, legal precedents, and scholarly examinations. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

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