Tagadministrative state

Federal Register weekly update; 2020 page total exceeds 10,000 pages

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 17 to February 21, the Federal Register grew by 1,552 pages for a year-to-date total of 10,268 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the _Federal Register_ reached 5,950 pages and 8,164 pages, respectively. As of February 21, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 4,318 pages and the 2018 total by 2,104 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 539 documents:

  • 358 notices
  • three presidential documents
  • 41 proposed rules
  • 53 final rules

Two final rules and two proposed 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 five significant proposed rules and 13 significant final rules as of February 21.

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.


Georgia lawmakers vote to limit judicial deference

The Georgia House of Representatives voted 158-8 on Tuesday to approve legislation that would end the practice of judicial deference to tax regulations in the state. House Bill 538—sponsored by state Representatives Todd Jones (R), Mitchell Scoggins (R), and Brett Harrell (R)—would require the Georgia Tax Tribunal to decide all questions of law without deference to the regulations or policy interpretations of the state’s Department of Revenue.

Judicial deference is a principle of administrative law that instructs federal courts to defer to administrative agencies’ interpretations of ambiguous statutes or regulations. State-level approaches to judicial deference vary significantly, and state courts are not obliged to defer to state-level administrative agencies or adopt federal deference doctrines. Thirty-six states, however, have implemented forms of judicial deference to state administrative agencies similar to the federal deference doctrines.

If the legislation becomes law, Georgia would join a group of other states that have addressed judicial deference practices in recent years. Since 2008, Wisconsin, Florida, Mississippi, Arizona, and Michigan have taken executive, judicial, or legislative action to prohibit judicial deference to state agencies.

Ballotpedia tracks state responses to judicial deference as part of The Administrative State Project.

Click here to find out more.

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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.


Virginia pilot program aims to reduce regulations

The Virginia General Assembly created a regulatory reduction pilot program in 2018 that aims to cut regulations in two state agencies by 25% before July 1, 2021. Both agencies cut regulations faster than planned, according to a progress report published in October 2019.

Under the program, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) must reduce regulatory requirements and compliance costs by 25% by the 2021 deadline. Both agencies were ahead of the first year goal of eliminating 7.5% of their regulations. The DPOR and DCJS had cut regulations by 9.78% and 10.14%, respectively, as of October 1, 2019.

If the pilot agencies meet the 2021 deadline, the Virginia Secretary of Finance must write a report on the feasibility of adopting a 2-for-1 regulatory budget in the state. Under that budget, state agencies would have to streamline or repeal two existing regulations for every new one they create. President Donald Trump (R) issued a similar executive order at the federal level in January 2017. Executive Order 13771 included a requirement that agencies eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation issued.

Virginia Delegate Michael Webert (R) and Virginia Senator Amanda Chase (R) sponsored the legislation creating the program and Governor Ralph Northam (D) approved it on March 23, 2018.

To learn more about the Virginia General Assembly or other state approaches to address the administrative state, see here:
Additional reading:

Virginia Administrative Procedure Act

Click here to read the text of the law establishing the pilot program.
Click here to read the text of the 2019 progress report.


Oklahoma Governor issues executive order to cut regulations

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) issued an executive order on February 3 designed to prune state regulations by 25%.

The order has two main requirements. First, state agencies must review their administrative rules and list any that are expensive, ineffective, redundant, or outdated. Next, for all new restrictive rules proposed after February 15, 2020, agencies have to eliminate at least two existing regulatory restrictions until agencies reduce regulations by 25%.

The order requires the Oklahoma secretary of state to write an annual report for the governor “outlining progress made in eliminating burdensome regulations and streamlining state government.”

President Donald Trump issued a similar executive order at the federal level in January 2017. Executive Order 13771 included a requirement that agencies eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation issued.

Click here to learn more about Kevin Stitt.
Click here to learn about other state approaches to address the administrative state.
Click here to read the executive order.

Additional reading:



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