Author

Molly Byrne

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

Gov. Henry McMaster sues Occupational Safety and Health Administration over increase of civil penalties in state plans

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) filed a lawsuit on August 8, 2022, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina that aimed to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) attempt to increase civil penalties against employers in state plans. OSHA announced a proposal in April 2022 to compel the Arizona State Plan to enforce policies and penalties that were as effective as the federal policies established by OSHA. The lawsuit aims to protect South Carolina against similar action. 

Gov. McMaster argued that OSHA’s proposed rule exceeded statutory authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide an opportunity for public notice and comment. He also contended that requiring a change to state law based on federal regulations would infringe on the state’s sovereignty. The governor filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and requested the defendants be enjoined from requiring the South Carolina State Plan to enforce civil penalties equivalent to the federal penalties. 

Gov. McMaster posited, “This attempt to unlawfully demand the state plan change the civil penalties sets a dangerous precedent not just for South Carolina, but for every other state managing its own plan. This is yet another example of federal bureaucrats – rather than elected officials – trying to make law outside of the constitutional process. We will do everything in our power to protect South Carolinians from this kind of overreach.”

OSHA and the Department of Labor had not issued a response to the lawsuit as of August 12, 2022. 

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Federal Register weekly update: 1,896 pages 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 August 8 through August 12, the Federal Register grew by 1,896 pages for a year-to-date total of 49,974 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 536 documents:

  • 432 notices
  • Three presidential documents
  • 58 proposed rules
  • 43 final rules

Four proposed rules, including amendments to the organic livestock and poultry production requirements from the Agricultural Marketing Service, and two final rules, including implementation of the HAVANA Act of 2021 from the State 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 134 significant proposed rules, 151 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of August 12.

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.

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Federal Register weekly update: 508 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 August 1 through August 5, the Federal Register grew by 1,196 pages for a year-to-date total of 48,078 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 508 documents:

  • 427 notices
  • One presidential document
  • 32 proposed rules
  • 48 final rules

Four proposed rules, including amendments to regulations for the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) from the Rural Housing Service, and seven final rules, including an amendment to regulations regarding advanced directives and informed consent 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 130 significant proposed rules, 149 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of August 5.

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



OIRA reviewed 47 significant rules in July

In July 2022, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 47 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved six of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 40 rules while recommending changes to their content. One rule was withdrawn from the review process by the issuing agency.

OIRA reviewed 43 significant regulatory actions in July 2021, 73 significant regulatory actions in July 2020, 51 significant regulatory actions in July 2019, 36 significant regulatory actions in July 2018, and 19 significant regulatory actions in July 2017.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 260 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 August 1, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 105 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.

Every month, Ballotpedia compiles information about regulatory reviews conducted by OIRA. To view this project, visit: https://ballotpedia.org/Completed_OIRA_review_of_federal_administrative_agency_rules

Additional reading:

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs



Federal Register weekly update: Highest weekly page total of 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 July 25 through July 29, the Federal Register grew by 2,898 pages for a year-to-date total of 46,882 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 584 documents:

  1. 488 notices
  2. Six presidential documents
  3. 48 proposed rules
  4. 42 final rules

Seven proposed rules, including regulations to establish minimum size requirements for train crews from the Federal Railroad Administration, and six final rules, including improvements to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model (GEM) for heavy-duty vehicles 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 126 significant proposed rules, 142 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of July 29.

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 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017: Changes to the Federal Register 

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



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: