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Federal Register weekly update: Lowest number of final rules added since April

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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 overall regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From July 5 through July 9, the Federal Register grew by 1,100 pages for a year-to-date total of 36,482 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 421 documents:

• 342 notices

• four presidential documents

• 27 proposed rules

• 48 final rules

One proposed rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding the agency’s proposed Hazard Communication Standard 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 Biden administration has issued 22 significant proposed rules and 14 significant final rules as of July 9.

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

Additional reading:

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2019



OIRA reviewed 32 significant rules in June

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The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed a total of 32 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in June 2021. The agency approved two rules without changes and approved the intent of 29 rules while recommending changes to their content. One rule was withdrawn from the review process.

OIRA reviewed 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. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 47 significant regulatory actions each June.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 265 significant rules in 2021. The agency reviewed a total of 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, 2021, OIRA’s website listed 59 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: Completed OIRA review of federal administrative agency rules

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A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, June 29-July 3, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout the year, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, issued mask mandates, and changed election dates.

Here are the policy changes that happened June 29-July 3, 2020. To read more of our past coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, click here

Monday, June 29, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Kentucky entered the final stage of its reopening plan, effectively ending Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) stay-at-home order. Under the final stage, groups of 50 or fewer people were allowed to gather in one location, and bars and restaurants were permitted to reopen at 50% capacity. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Defense Department announced that it had lifted travel restrictions on military installations in ten more states, allowing service members to resume recreational travel and change-of-station moves. The Defense Department also lifted restrictions on troops in Guam, Puerto Rico, and South Korea.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) approved a Utah State Board of Education plan for reopening schools in the fall. The Board required all public schools to create and post a reopening plan online by August 1.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) moved the state into the third phase of reopening. Phase 3 allowed gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. It also allowed entertainment businesses (like bowling alleys and movie theaters) and some larger events (like concerts and festivals) to reopen with restrictions.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that eight more states had been added to a June 24 joint travel advisory requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The eight states were California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.
    • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that visitors to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The advisory to self-quarantine remained in effect for visitors from other parts of the country.
    • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that the deadline to file taxes would not be extended beyond July 15. The IRS postponed the original April 15 deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) released the “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap,” a set of guidelines local districts could use to draft their own reopening plans for the fall. 
  • Eviction moratoriums:
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill to extend the state’s moratorium on commercial and residential evictions through Sept. 30. The bill also gave renters until March 31, 2021, to pay back nonpayment balances. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
    • Maine moved into a new phase of reopening, allowing indoor amusement facilities, movie theaters, outdoor amusement facilities, performing arts venues, casinos, and close-contact personal services like nail salons to reopen at varying capacities. 
  • Election changes:
    • In New York, the filing deadline for independent nominating petitions was extended to July 30.
    • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed HB346 into law, providing for the state election commission to automatically deliver a vote-by-mail application to every qualified voter in the 2020 primary, general, and special elections.
  • Mask requirements: 
    • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) issued a statewide mandate requiring people to wear masks in indoor public spaces. 
  • Ballot measure changes:
    • Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (R) filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stay a lower court’s ruling allowing for electronic gathering of petition signatures. The case had been brought by Reclaim Idaho, an organization aiming to qualify an initiative for the ballot to raise the state income tax to fund K-12 education.
    • The Colorado Supreme Court rejected Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) executive order allowing for ballot initiative petitions to be signed through the mail and email and instead ruled that initiative proponents must gather signatures in person.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • The Iowa Department of Education allowed K-12 public schools to reopen. Officials announced there would be no requirement for students or staff to wear face coverings, undergo health checks, or social distance.
    • The Wyoming Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools in the state. The state’s 48 school districts were responsible for developing reopening plans in accordance with the guidance and submitting those plans for state approval. 
  • Eviction moratoriums:
    • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an order that allowed residential evictions to resume for actions that did not include the non-payment of rent.
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) ended the statewide moratorium on evictions.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

  • Travel restrictions:
    • The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that residents who traveled to 15 states with rising COVID-19 cases quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the state. At the time, those states were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
  • Election changes:
    • Vermont S348 became law without the signature of Gov. Phil Scott (R). The legislation authorized the secretary of state to implement modifications to election procedures without the approval of the governor.
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Secretary of State John Thurston (R) announced that voters in the Nov. 3 general election would be allowed to cite concerns over COVID-19 as a valid excuse for voting absentee.
    • The Supreme Court of the United States temporarily stayed a district court order barring Alabama election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections. The Court implemented the stay to give the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit time to hear a pending appeal of the district court’s decision.
  • School closures and reopenings:
    • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) released guidelines for reopening schools in the state. The guidelines included a requirement that all staff wear masks and a recommendation that students in third grade or higher wear masks.

Friday, July 3, 2020 

  • Travel restrictions:
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) exempted visitors from Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York from the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement or negative COVID-19 testing alternative.
  • Mask requirements:
    • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) issued a statewide mask mandate requiring individuals older than five to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and outdoors when social distancing could not be maintained.
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a mandate requiring people living in counties with more than 20 coronavirus cases to wear a mask in indoor and outdoor settings when social distancing wasn’t possible. Counties with fewer than 20 coronavirus cases could choose to opt out of the requirement.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccines and mask mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.



Federal Register weekly update: 566 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 overall regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From June 21 through June 25, the Federal Register grew by 1,492 pages for a year-to-date total of 33,852 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 566 documents:

• 437 notices

• six presidential documents

• 41 proposed rules

• 82 final rules

One proposed rule from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding animal handling and one final rule from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs concerning the administration of the department’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program 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 21 significant proposed rules and 14 significant final rules as of June 25.

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

Additional reading:

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2019