Chapter 2

Researching Administrative Law

2.4 Federal Regulations

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Publication of federal administrative rules is an example of informal or “notice and comment” rulemaking. Unlike in Minnesota, there are typically no administrative hearings for rulemaking in the federal rulemaking process. Proposed and final rules as well as notices are initially published in the Federal Register[1], a daily publication since 1936[2].

Final rules are then compiled into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which is divided into fifty titles that correspond roughly with the titles of the United States Code. Each title of CFR is recompiled annually. The eCFR is an official version of the CFR that is frequently updated with Federal Register changes.[3] The date of the most recent update is prominently displayed on the eCFR’s homepage. The CFR (in print and the digital equivalent of the CFR[4]) is updated quarterly in stages, which requires updating with the List of CFR Sections Affected.[5]

Regulations.Gov[6] is a recent website that compiles proposed and final rules as well as public comments, agency notices and supporting materials in a more modern, Web 2.0 format.


[1] Federal Register, U.S. Government Printing Office, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR (last visited Oct. 1, 2014).

[2] HeinOnline provides a comprehensive list of the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in Portable Document Format (PDF). Not only does Hein have the current issue of the CFR but starting with the first issue, HeinOnline provides every annual issue of the CFR.

[3] Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Government Printing Office http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/ECFR?page=browse (last visited Oct. 1, 2014).

[4] Code of Federal Regulation (Annual Edition), U.S. Government Printing Office, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionCfr.action?collectionCode=CFR last visited Oct. 1, 2014).

[5] About List of CFR Sections Affected, U.S. Government Printing Office, http://www.gpo.gov/help/about_list_of_cfr_sections_affected.htm (last visited Oct. 1, 2014).

[6] The eRulemaking Initiative, Regulations.Gov, http://www.regulations.gov/#!aboutProgram, (last visited Oct. 1, 2014).