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Researching Federal Regulations

This guide is designed to acquaint the user with federal case law, statutes, regulations, and legislative histories, how to locate those sources, and how to navigate them.

Federal Register

The Federal Register is the official publication for rules and proposed rules issued by the government agencies. It is published daily Monday through Friday except for holidays. Publication of a document in the Federal Register is sufficient to provide notice of the contents of the documents to a person subject to or affected by it.

The Federal Register contains:

Contents and Preliminary Pages: Alphabetical listing by agency name of all documents in the issue; the documents are arranged by type: rules, proposed rules, and notices.

CFR Parts Affected in the Issue: Parts affected by the rules and proposed rules in the issue are listed along with the page numbers where relevant documents begin.

Final Rules & Regulations: Each document has a heading that includes the name of the issuing agency (and sub-agency as applicable), the C.F.R. titles and part(s) affected, and a brief description of the specific subject of the document; also contains interim rules that are issued without prior notice and are effective immediately; may also include documents that have no regulatory text and do not amend the C.F.R., but either affect the agency's handling or its regulations or are of continuing interest to the public in dealing with an agency such as general policy statements and interpretations of agency regulations.

Proposed Rules: Notices of proposed rules, requests for public comment, and documents relating to previously published proposed rules.

Notices: Announcements of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, issuance's or revocation of licenses, filing of petitions and applications, and notices of meetings is required to be published under the Government in the Sunshine act.

Presidential Documents: Proclamations and executive orders compiled annually in Title 3 of the C.F.R.

Reader Aids: "Federal Register Pages and Dates," a table of the inclusive page numbers and corresponding dates for the current month's Federal Register and the C.F.R. Parts Affected During the Current Month, a cumulative list of C.F.R. parts affected by rules and proposed rules published in the Federal Register during the current month.


Locating Regulatory History

The Federal Register also contains the history of the rule making process for a regulation. The customary process for the promulgation of a regulation includes the publication of a notice of intent to produce regulations, proposed regulations, comments, and final rules. Explanations of intent and summaries of comments received during the comment period as well as how the comments affected the regulations are also included in the Federal Register under the heading "Supplementary Information."

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