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After Congress passes legislation, federal agencies are responsible for creating rules which administer the laws.
- Proposed and final rules and regulations are first published in the Federal Register (FR). Published daily since 1935, the Register also includes changes to existing rules, agency notices, Presidential Executive Orders, proclamations and other documents. Sample citation: Federal Register: 76 FR 3017 (Jan 21, 2011) [Volume number, page number, date]
- The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reviews all proposed rules and the public is invited to submit on Regulations.gov their comments within 30 to 90 days. After examining public feedback and receiving approval from Congress and the General Accounting Office (GAO), the agencies publish the final rule.
- Final rules are then codified and classified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) under one of the fifty titles organized topically. Sample citation: Code of Federal Regulations: 38 CFR 74.1 (2011) [Title, section, year revised]
Use the following sources to access FR and CFR:
Federal Register (daily)
Publication of the rules, proposed rules, and notices of the Federal agencies and organizations along with executive orders.
Code of Federal Regulations
Annual edition of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
Electronic Code of Federal Reguations (e-CFR)
Unofficial online version of the CFR that currently does not have the legal authority of the print CFR (but will likely in the near future).
Hein Online This link opens in a new window
Federal Register Library, 1936 - present; Code of Federal Regulations (CRF), 1938 - present.
Also other U.S. Agency documents, decisions and appeals.
Regulatory Process Guides