The 10 most and least heavily regulated states
Across the U.S., state regulations contain 416 million words – more than 23,000 hours’ worth of reading – and more than 6 million of those words are regulatory restrictions, or instances of such things as “must,” “may not,” “prohibited,” “required” and “shall.” These rules that make up how states and their industries function aren’t equally distributed; some states are home to far more of those regulations than others, according to a recent report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
With 395,608 regulatory restrictions, California is the most heavily regulated state in the nation, according to the report. On average, states have 135,000 regulatory restrictions in administrative rules, with California’s regulations more than doubling the national average.
Idaho, on the other end of the list, has only a fraction of that regulation, with 38,961 regulatory restrictions. The District of Columbia is included in this report; Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and Vermont were not analyzed in this report due to limited availability of data.
Regardless, the number of regulations only begins to explain the full picture for state regulation.