|Type||Daily government gazette|
|Publisher||Office of the Federal Register|
|Founded||July 26, 1935|
|Free online archives||www.federalregister.gov|
The Federal Register, abbreviated FR or sometimes Fed. Reg., is the official journal of the federal government of the United States that contains most routine publications and public notices of government agencies. It is a daily (except federal holidays) publication.
The Federal Register is compiled by the Office of the Federal Register (within the National Archives and Records Administration) and is printed by the Government Printing Office. The final rules promulgated by a federal agency and published in the Federal Register are ultimately reorganized by topic or subject matter and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which is updated annually.
There are no copyright restrictions on the Federal Register; as a work of the U.S. government, it is in the public domain. Citations from the Federal Register are [volume] FR [page number] ([date]), e.g., 65 FR 741 (Jan. 6, 2000).
The Federal Register system of publication was created on July 26, 1935 under the Federal Register Act and was further enlarged and amended by the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946. The first issue of the Federal Register was published on March 16, 1936.
In essence, the Federal Register is a way for the government to think aloud to the people, and also serves as official journal of record for the approved acts of the U.S. Government. The notice and comment process outlined in the Federal Register gives the people a chance to participate in agency rulemaking. Publication of documents in the Federal Register also constitutes constructive notice, and its contents are judicially noticed.
The Federal Register is the main source for the U.S. federal government agencies':
- Proposed new rules and regulations
- Final rules
- Changes to existing rules
- Notices of meetings and adjudicatory proceedings
- Presidential documents including Executive orders, proclamations and administrative orders.
A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (or "NPRM") typically requests public comment on a proposed rule, and provides notice of any public meetings where a proposed rule will be discussed. The public comments are considered by the issuing government agency, and the text of a final rule is published in the Federal Register. Any agency proposing a rule in the Federal Register must provide contact information for people and organizations interested in making comments to the agencies and the agencies are required to give due diligence to these concerns when it publishes its final rule on the subject.
Each daily issue of the Federal Register is organized into four categories:
- Presidential Documents (executive orders and proclamations)
- Rules and Regulations (policy statements and interpretations of rules by federal agencies)
- Proposed Rules (petitions by agencies for assistance in rulemaking and other proposals)
- Notices (scheduled hearings and meetings open to the public, grant applications, and administrative orders)
Citations from the Federal Register are [volume] FR [page number] ([date]), e.g., 65 FR 741 (Jan. 6, 2000).
The final rules promulgated by a federal agency and published in the Federal Register are ultimately reorganized by topic or subject matter and re-published (or "codified") in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which is updated annually.
To purchase current or back copies of Federal Register, one may contact the U.S. Government Printing Office. In each issue of the Federal Register, there is a subscription page. Currently, a year's subscription rate within the U.S. is US$929. Each individual issue may be priced from $11 to $33 depending on its pages. Virtually every law library associated with an American Bar Association–accredited law school will also have a set, as will federal depository libraries.
The Federal Register has been available online since 1994. Federal depository libraries within the U.S. also receive copies of the text, either in paper or microfiche format. Outside the U.S., some major libraries may also carry the Federal Register.
As part of the Federal E-Government eRulemaking Initiative, the web site Regulations.gov was established in 2003 to enable easy public access to Federal Register publications related to rulemaking and was further enhanced in 2005 with the launch of the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS). Through FDMS, the public can use Regulations.gov to access entire rulemaking dockets from participating Federal Departments and Agencies" to include providing on-line comments directly to those responsible for drafting the rulemakings.
On July 25, 2010 the Federal Register 2.0 website went live. The new website is a collaboration between the developers who created GovPulse.us, the Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration.
On August 1, 2011 the Federal Register announced a new Application Programming Interface (API) to facilitate programatic access to the Federal Register content. The API is fully RESTful utilizing the HATEOAS architecture with results delivered in the JSON format. Details are available at the developers page and Ruby and Python client libraries are available.
Some older material is available from the Internet Archive. Most of it is scanned from microfilm and has two pages per "page". Page ranges for each item are not shown, but volume numbers and date ranges are, so items cited in the "volume FR page (date)" style will be reasonably easy to find using a simple search and some basic arithmetic.
Other than paid copies or subscriptions, people may obtain Federal Register contents from commercial databases:
- Citation Technologies offers the complete Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) through subscription-based web portals such as CyberRegs.
- Westlaw (January 1, 1981–): Searchable text format since 46 F.R. 1. The Unified Agenda and the official English text of the 1980 United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, which became effective January 1, 1988, are included. Sunshine Act Meeting Notices are not available prior to 1991. Unified Agenda documents are not available prior to October 1989.
- LexisNexis (July 1, 1980–): Searchable text format since 45 F.R. 44251.
- HeinOnline (1936–): Full coverage available dating back to 1936 in an image-based searchable PDF format.
- 1 C.F.R. 2.6; "Any person may reproduce or republish, without restriction, any material appearing in any regular or special edition of the Federal Register."
- Kohlmetz 1948, p. 58.
- Pub.L. 74–220, 49 Stat. 500, enacted July 26, 1935. 44 U.S.C. ch. 15.
- 5 U.S.C. § 551
- "A Brief History Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Publication of the First Issue of the Federal Register March 14, 1936". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- 1 C.F.R. 9.1
- "FDLP Library Directory". Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.
- "Federal Register – Rules, notices, proposed rules". FederalRegister.com.
- "Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge". Sunlight Labs. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
- "Meet the New Federal Register". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
- "Welcome to CyberRegs". CyberRegs. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
- "About the Federal Register". Office of the Federal Register.
- McKinney, Richard J. (July 21, 2012). "A Research Guide to the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations". Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.
- Carey, Maeve P. (May 1, 2013). Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register. Congressional Research Service.
- Kohlmetz, William J. (1948). "Administrative Law—The Effect of Publication in the Federal Register". Marquette Law Review 32 (1): 58–64.