Author

Molly Byrne

Molly Byrne is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Republican-led states sue Department of Agriculture over nondiscrimination school meal guidance

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery (R), joined by 21 Republican attorneys general, filed a lawsuit on July 26, 2022, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee that aimed to overturn guidance from the Biden administration and the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. The guidance expanded Title IX to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The directive also compelled state and local agencies receiving federal funds from the Food and Nutrition Service, including the national school lunch program, to align with nondiscrimination policies. Twenty-two Republican-led states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia) joined in the lawsuit.

The attorneys general argued that the USDA’s directive exceeded statutory authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act by enacting a legislative rule without providing an opportunity for public comment. They also contended that the guidance interfered with the states’ right to enact legislation. The directive for states to adopt such nondiscrimination policies in schools contradicts state law in several states.

Slatery argued, “This case is, yet again, about a federal agency trying to change law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative.” He added, “The USDA simply does not have that authority. We have successfully challenged the Biden Administration’s other attempts to rewrite law and we will challenge this as well,” according to The Associated Press.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released a statement in May regarding the USDA’s guidance, stating that, “USDA is committed to administering all its programs with equity and fairness, and serving those in need with the highest dignity. A key step in advancing these principles is rooting out discrimination in any form – including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The Food and Nutrition Service and the Department of Agriculture had not responded to the lawsuit as of July 29, 2022. 

Additional reading:

Administrative Procedure Act

Herbert H. Slatery

U.S. Department of Agriculture



Federal Register weekly update: Tops 250 significant documents

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From July 18 through July 22, the Federal Register grew by 1,352 pages for a year-to-date total of 43,984 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 535 documents:

  • 445 notices
  • Five presidential documents
  • 41 proposed rules
  • 44 final rules

Seven proposed rules, including an amendment to the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards from the Housing and Urban Development Department, and five final rules, including amendments to regulations regarding the claims and appeals process for programs administered by the Veterans Health Administration from the Veterans Affairs Department 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 Biden administration has issued 119 significant proposed rules, 136 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of July 22.

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.

Additional reading:

Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2019



Federal Register weekly update: Tops 15,000 documents

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From July 11 through July 15, the Federal Register grew by 1,608 pages for a year-to-date total of 42,632 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 579 documents:

  1. 463 notices
  2. Five presidential documents
  3. 39 proposed rules
  4. 72 final rules

Eight proposed rules, including an amendment to Title IX regulations to clarify the obligation of schools receiving federal financial assistance to provide education without discrimination on the basis of sex from the Education Department, and three final rules, including amendments to medical regulations for the Civilian Health and Medical Program from the Veterans Affairs Department 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 Biden administration has issued 112 significant proposed rules, 131 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of July 15.

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.

Additional reading:

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2019: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2019



Federal Register weekly update: Six significant documents added

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From July 4 through July 8, the Federal Register grew by 1,292 pages for a year-to-date total of 41,024 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 413 documents:

  • 342 notices
  • One presidential document
  • 23 proposed rules
  • 47 final rules

Five proposed rules, including an amendment to energy conservation standards for consumer furnaces from the Energy Department, and one final rule, including changes to the regulations for special financial assistance pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 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 Biden administration has issued 104 significant proposed rules, 128 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of July 8.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 599 documents added

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From June 27 through July 1, the Federal Register grew by 1,756 pages for a year-to-date total of 39,732 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 599 documents:

  • 460 notices
  • Five presidential documents
  • 44 proposed rules
  • 90 final rules

Four proposed rules, including revisions to criteria for evaluating cardiovascular disorders under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act from the Social Security Administration, and seven final rules, including standards to implement renewable fuel volume targets from the Environmental Protection Agency 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 Biden administration has issued 99 significant proposed rules, 127 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of July 1.

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.

Additional reading:



OIRA reviewed 38 significant rules in June

Photo of the White House in Washington, D.C.

In June 2022, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 38 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved four of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 32 rules while recommending changes to their content. One rule was withdrawn from the review process by the issuing agency. One rule was subject to a statutory or judicial deadline.

OIRA reviewed 32 significant regulatory actions in June 2021, 72 significant regulatory actions in June 2020, 37 significant regulatory actions in June 2019, 40 significant regulatory actions in June 2018, and 18 significant regulatory actions in June 2017.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 212 significant rules in 2022. The agency reviewed a total of 502 significant rules in 2021, 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of July 1, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 119 regulatory actions under review.

​​OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: Lowest weekly final rule total so far in 2022

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From June 20 through June 24, the Federal Register grew by 1,214 pages for a year-to-date total of 37,976 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 397 documents:

  • 324 notices
  • Six presidential documents
  • 34 proposed rules
  • 33 final rules

Five proposed rules, including minimum standards for projects under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program from the Federal Highway Administration, and five final rules, including a delay of the effective date of an interim rule to amend the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) regulations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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 Biden administration has issued 95 significant proposed rules, 120 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of June 24.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 555 documents added

Photo of the White House in Washington, D.C.

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From June 13 through June 17, the Federal Register grew by 1,120 pages for a year-to-date total of 36,762 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 555 documents:

  • 437 notices
  • Six presidential documents
  • 57 proposed rules
  • 55 final rules

Four proposed rules, including fuel efficiency requirements for certification of certain airplanes from the Federal Aviation Administration, and two final rules, including an increase to small business size standards for North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors relating to wholesale and retail trade from the Small Business Administration 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 Biden administration has issued 90 significant proposed rules, 115 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of June 17.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: More than 10,000 notices issued so far in 2022

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 both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From June 6 through June 10, the Federal Register grew by 1,576 pages for a year-to-date total of 35,642 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 576 documents:

  • 454 notices
  • Eight presidential documents
  • 42 proposed rules
  • 72 final rules

Four proposed rules, including revisions to the 2020 water quality certification regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 from the Environmental Protection Agency, and four final rules, including an amendment to regulations to waive excess and unauthorized grazing fees as a result of unforeseen circumstances from the Forest Service Agency 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 Biden administration has issued 86 significant proposed rules, 113 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of June 10.

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.

Additional reading:



Maryland parents oppose state health education framework

Some Maryland parents, according to The Washington Post, have expressed opposition to a state health education framework that outlines how educators should teach students about mental and emotional health; substance abuse prevention; family life and human sexuality; safety and violence prevention; healthy eating; and disease prevention and control. Parents argue that the standards for family life and human sexuality education are not age-appropriate and that parents should be allowed to offer input on how their children are taught certain topics. 

The Maryland State Board of Education adopted the framework in 2019 and school districts have recently begun discussing how to implement the family life and human sexuality lessons in their schools. The framework states that students in pre-kindergarten through third grade should be taught about what the framework considers to be healthy relationships and gender identity, such as recognizing that there is “a range of ways people identify and express their gender” and “that there are different types of families.” The framework permits parents to opt their children out of the family life and human sexuality standards beginning in fourth grade. 

A Carroll County resident said at a school board meeting in April, “The government has no right to attempt to replace parents or their decisions regarding what their children learn,” according to the Post.

Brad Young, the president of the Frederick County school board said, “[The school board’s] job is to set policy for the school system, listen to the community, and adopt [the curriculum]. And if they would let that process work, I think in the end, people would be fine with the outcome,” according to the Post

Additional reading: