Tagfederal government

Federal Register weekly update: More than 3,000 final rules published so far in 2020

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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 November 23 to November 27, the Federal Register grew by 1,824 pages for a year-to-date total of 76,418 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 65,906 pages and 62,240 pages, respectively. As of November 27, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 10,512 pages and the 2018 total by 14,178 pages. 

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

Last week’s Federal Register featured the following 516 documents:

• 406 notices

• two presidential documents

• 35 proposed rules

• 73 final rules

One proposed rule concerning critical habitat designation for threatened Caribbean corals was 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 2020 has issued 32 significant proposed rules, 65 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of November 27.

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.

Additional reading:

  • Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2019, 2018, and 2017.
  • Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018.


Partisan control of U.S. Senate will come down to Georgia

Two of the 35 Senate races held in 2020 remain uncalled: the regular and special Senate elections in Georgia. Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next Senate, and Democrats have secured 48 (including two seats held by independents who caucus with Democrats). Control of the Senate will come down to Georgia.

Democrats would need to win both of Georgia’s Senate seats to split the chamber 50-50. Since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate, splitting the chamber would give Democrats an effective majority in 2021. Republicans would need to win one of the Senate races to maintain their majority.

Georgia is one of two states (alongside Louisiana) that requires runoff elections if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in a general election. As vote totals currently stand, it is projected that both Senate elections in Georgia will go to runoffs. That would mean we wouldn’t know which party will control the Senate until the January 5 runoff elections.

Republican incumbents are running in both Georgia Senate races: David Perdue in the regular election and Kelly Loeffler in the special election. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Loeffler assumed office in January 2020; she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigned.

Perdue faces Jon Ossoff (D), who challenged Karen Handel (R) in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2017. Raphael Warnock (D), senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, is challenging Loeffler.

Of the 33 Senate races called, Republicans won 20 and Democrats 13. Democrats have a net gain of one seat, as they flipped two (in Colorado and Arizona) and Republicans flipped one (in Alabama).

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Federal Register tops 70,000 pages for 2020

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. This journal is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From Nov. 2 to Nov. 6, the Federal Register grew by 2,104 pages for a year-to-date total of 71,222 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 60,882 pages and 56,254 pages; respectively. As of Nov. 6, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 10,340 pages and the 2018 total by 14,968 pages. 

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 608 documents:

• 469 notices
• 15 presidential documents
• 54 proposed rules
• 70 final rules

No proposed or final rules were deemed significant under Executive Order 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 2020 has issued 27 significant proposed rules, 63 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of Nov. 2.

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. This 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.

Additional reading:
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018.



Office of Personnel Management implements Trump administration order regarding poor-performing federal employees

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Friday issued final rules that revise federal agency methods for addressing poor-performing employees in the civil service. The rules implement President Donald Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13839, which aims to streamline the discipline and dismissal processes for poor-performing federal employees.

The regulations implement the following changes to agency management practices:

  • Reduce the time for employees to improve their performance, allowing agencies to more quickly initiate disciplinary actions against employees deemed poor-performing. 
  • Reduce the time period for employees to respond to allegations of poor performance.
  • Reiterate that agencies are not obligated to help employees improve. 
  • Prohibit agencies from entering into settlement agreements that modify an employee’s personnel record. 
  • Mandate that agencies remind supervisors of expiring employee probationary periods. 
  • Establish procedures for agencies to discipline supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers.

President Trump issued three executive orders on May 25, 2018, aimed at improving efficiency and accountability within the federal civil service. E.O. 13839, titled “Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles,” seeks to advance agency supervisors’ ability to support accountability within the federal civil service while protecting the procedural rights of federal employees. The order proposed several principles, management tactics, and reporting procedures for agency supervisors to incorporate in order to address issues of employee accountability. OPM’s final regulations aim to fully implement the order.

Supporters of E.O. 13839 have claimed that the order will improve the federal civil service by allowing agency supervisors to more efficiently address poor performance and misconduct in the workforce. Opponents of the order have argued that the management changes are unnecessary and will fail to bring about the stated goal of improved employee performance.

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Federal Register weekly update: 2020 page total tops 60,000 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 September 21 to September 25, the Federal Register grew by 1,510 pages for a year-to-date total of 60,682 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 51,364 pages and 49,264 pages, respectively. As of September 25, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 9,318 pages and the 2018 total by 11,418 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 550 documents:

• 416 notices
• 16 presidential documents
• 49 proposed rules
• 69 final rules

No proposed or 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 24 significant proposed rules, 54 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of September 25.

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: https://ballotpedia.org/Changes_to_the_Federal_Register

Additional reading:
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2018