Federal Register

The Federal Register (FR or sometimes Fed. Reg.) is the official journal of the federal government of the United States that contains government agency rules, proposed rules, and public notices.[1] It is published daily, except on federal holidays. 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.

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 Publishing Office. There are no copyright restrictions on the Federal Register; as a work of the U.S. government, it is in the public domain.[2]

Federal Register
TypeDaily official journal
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register
FoundedJuly 26, 1935
HeadquartersUnited States
OCLC number1768512
Free online archivesfederalregister.gov


The Federal Register provides a means for the government to announce to the public changes to government requirements, policies, and guidance.

  • 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.

Both proposed and final government rules are published in the Federal Register. 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 along with a discussion of the comments 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 address these concerns when it publishes its final rule on the subject.

The notice and comment process, as outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act, 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.[3]

The United States Government Manual is published as a special edition of the Federal Register. Its focus is on programs and activities.[4]


Each daily issue of the printed Federal Register is organized into four categories:

  • Presidential Documents (executive orders and proclamations)
  • Rules and Regulations (including policy statements and interpretations of rules by federal agencies)
  • Proposed Rules (including petitions to agencies from the public)
  • Notices (such as scheduled hearings and meetings open to the public and grant applications)

Citations from the Federal Register are [volume] FR [page number] ([date]), e.g., 71 FR 24924 (Apr. 7, 2006).

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.


Copies of the Federal Register may be obtained from the U.S. Government Publishing Office. Most law libraries associated with an American Bar Association–accredited law school will also have a set, as will federal depository libraries.[5]

Free sources

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 agency dockets on rulemaking projects including the published Federal Register document. The public can use Regulations.gov to access entire rulemaking dockets from participating Federal agencies to include providing on-line comments directly to those responsible for drafting the rulemakings. To help federal agencies manage their dockets, the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) was launched in 2005 and is the agency side of regulations.gov.

In April 2009, Citation Technologies created a free, searchable website for Federal Register articles dating from 1996 to the present.[6]

GovPulse.us,[7] a finalist in the Sunlight Foundation's Apps for America 2,[8] provides a web 2.0 interface to the Federal Register, including sparklines of agency activity and maps of current rules.

On July 25, 2010, the Federal Register 2.0[9] website went live.[10] The new website is a collaboration between the developers who created GovPulse.us, the Government Publishing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration.

On August 1, 2011, the Federal Register announced a new application programming interface (API) to facilitate programmatic 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[11] and Ruby and Python client libraries are available.

In addition to purchasing printed copies or subscriptions, the contents of the Federal Register can be acquired via several commercial databases:

  • Citation Technologies offers the complete Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) through subscription-based web portals such as CyberRegs.[12]
  • HeinOnline (1936–): Full coverage available dating back to 1936 in an image-based searchable PDF format.
  • LexisNexis (July 1, 1980–): Searchable text format since 45 FR 44251.
  • Westlaw (January 1, 1981–): Searchable text format since 46 FR 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.


The Federal Register system of publication was created on July 26, 1935, under the Federal Register Act.[3][13] The first issue of the Federal Register was published on March 16, 1936.[14] In 1946 the Administrative Procedure Act required agencies to publish more information related to their rulemaking documents in the Federal Register.[15]

On March 11, 2014, Rep. Darrell Issa introduced the Federal Register Modernization Act (H.R. 4195), a bill that would require the Federal Register to be published (e.g., by electronic means), rather than printed, and that documents in the Federal Register be made available for sale or distribution to the public in published form.[16] The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) strongly opposed the bill, arguing that the bill undermines citizens' right to be informed by making it more difficult for citizens to find their government's regulations.[17] According to AALL, a survey they conducted "revealed that members of the public, librarians, researchers, students, attorneys, and small business owners continue to rely on the print" version of the Federal Register.[17] AALL also argued that the lack of print versions of the Federal Register and CFR would mean the 15 percent of Americans who don't use the internet would lose their access to that material.[17] The House voted on July 14, 2014, to pass the bill 386–0.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ 44 U.S.C. § 1505
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ a b Kohlmetz 1948, p. 58.
  4. ^ 1 C.F.R. 9.1
  5. ^ "FDLP Library Directory". Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. Archived from the original on 2009-05-09.
  6. ^ "Federal Register – Rules, notices, proposed rules". FederalRegister.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-02.
  7. ^ govpulse.us Archived 2010-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge". Sunlight Labs. Archived from the original on January 28, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  9. ^ federalregister.gov Archived 2010-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Meet the New Federal Register". Sunlight Foundation. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  11. ^ "Reader Aids". Federal Register. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Welcome to CyberRegs". CyberRegs. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
  13. ^ Pub.L. 74–220, 49 Stat. 500, enacted July 26, 1935. 44 U.S.C. ch. 15.
  14. ^ "A Brief History Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Publication of the First Issue of the Federal Register March 14, 1936" (PDF). National Archives and Records Administration. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  15. ^ 5 U.S.C. § 551
  16. ^ "H.R. 4195 – Summary". United States Congress. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "The Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations" (PDF). American Association of Law Libraries. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  18. ^ Medici, Andy (15 July 2014). "House passes bills to change TSP default fund, extend whistleblower protections". Federal Times. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  19. ^ "H.R. 4195 – All Actions". United States Congress. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.


External links

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States. The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.

The CFR annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published by the Office of the Federal Register (part of the National Archives and Records Administration) and the Government Publishing Office. In addition to this annual edition, the CFR is published in an unofficial format online on the Electronic CFR website, which is updated daily.

Domestic Mail Manual

The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is a document that lays out the policies and prices of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In legal parlance, it contains "the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service". Changes to the DMM are announced in the Federal Register. The DMM sets postage rates and all other aspects of the USPS' service delivery.

Executive order

In the United States, an executive order is a directive issued by the President of the United States that manages operations of the federal government and has the force of law. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources. Article Two of the United States Constitution gives the president broad executive and enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive branch. The ability to make such orders is also based on express or implied Acts of Congress that delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation).Like both legislative statutes and regulations promulgated by government agencies, executive orders are subject to judicial review and may be overturned if the orders lack support by statute or the Constitution. Major policy initiatives require approval by the legislative branch, but executive orders have significant influence over the internal affairs of government, deciding how and to what degree legislation will be enforced, dealing with emergencies, waging wars, and in general fine-tuning policy choices in the implementation of broad statutes. As the head of state and head of government of the United States, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, only the President of the United States can issue an executive order.

Presidential executive orders, once issued, remain in force until they are cancelled, revoked, adjudicated unlawful, or expire on their own terms. At any time, the President may revoke, modify, or make exceptions from any executive order, regardless if the order was made by the current president or a predecessor. Typically, a new president reviews enforced executive orders in the first few weeks in office.

Federal Register of Legislation

The Federal Register of Legislation (formerly ComLaw), also known as the Legislation Register, is an Australian government web site run by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel since October 2012 that provides online copies of Commonwealth legislation and related documents. The website was redesigned and re-released early in 2011. As of 2016 ComLaw links redirect to the Federal Register of Legislation site.

Incorporation by reference

Incorporation by reference is the act of including a second document within another document by only mentioning the second document. This act, if properly done, makes the entire second document a part of the main document. Incorporation by reference is often done in creating laws as well as in contract law and trust and estate law.

In law regarding wills, it is a doctrine at common law which allows a testator, or a creator of a will, to dispose of assets in his estate in accordance with a separate document. To be valid, such a document must comply with the following requirements:

it must have existed at the time the will was executed;

the will must describe the document with particularity, so that it may be identified; and

the will must clearly manifest the intent that the document be incorporated.An exception to the first requirement is made for small gifts of tangible personal property, such as household furniture and items of sentimental value.

Oral instructions can not be subject to incorporation by reference. For example, if a testator states in the will that he has recited to a third party the intended disposition of testamentary assets, such attempt to circumvent the requirements of a written will is void.

In administrative law, incorporation by reference is a drafting tool that enables federal agencies to give legal effect to materials that are already published elsewhere. This is allowed under a provision of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(1). Section 552(a) requires agencies to publish regulations in the Federal Register in order to enforce them. Section 552(a)(1) provides that if material published elsewhere is "reasonably available to the class of persons affected" and the Director of the Federal Register approves its incorporation by reference, that material will be "deemed published" in the Federal Register. It is most controversially used to incorporate privately authored voluntary consensus standards into health and safety regulations without infringing the standards developers' copyright. Federal law and policy, embodied in the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, requires federal agencies to use these standards instead of creating "government-unique" technical standards purely to serve regulatory purposes.In some countries, a specification of a patent application may incorporate by reference the content of a previous patent, patent application, or non-patent publication. The information incorporated by reference is treated as part of the text of the application as filed.

List of Alaska Native tribal entities

This is a list of Alaska Native tribal entities which are recognized by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. For related lists, see the List of Indian reservations in the United States, List of Native American Tribal Entities (federally recognized lower 48 groups) and List of State Recognized American Indian Tribal Entities.

This list pertains only to the state of Alaska, and is maintained by the U.S. Federal Government. For more detail on how Alaska Native villages came to be tracked in this way, see Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. This version was updated based on Federal Register, Volume 74, Number 183 dated August 11, 2009 (74 FR 40218) "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs" (August 11, 2009), when the number of Alaskan Native tribes entities totaled 231.

The list is maintained in alphabetical order with respect to the name of the tribe or village. Leading words such as "Village of" or "Native Village of" are ignored for this purpose. Ancillary information present in former versions of this list but no longer contained in the current listing have been included here in italics print.

Note that while the names of Alaska Native tribal entities often include "Village of" or "Native Village of," in most cases the tribal entity cannot be considered as identical to the city, town, or census-designated place in which the tribe is located, as some residents may be non-tribal members and a separate city government may exist. Nor should Alaska Native tribes be confused with Alaska Native Regional Corporations, which are a class of Alaska for-profit corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971.

List of Schedule I drugs (US)

This is the list of Schedule I drugs as defined by the United States Controlled Substances Act. The following findings are required for drugs to be placed in this schedule:

The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.Except as specifically authorized, it is illegal for any person:

to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance; or

to create, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense, a counterfeit substance.The complete list of Schedule I drugs follows. The Administrative Controlled Substances Code Number for each drug is included.

List of executive actions by Barack Obama

Listed below are executive orders numbered 13489–13764 and Presidential memoranda signed by United States President Barack Obama. There are an additional 1186 Presidential proclamations that are not included here, but some of which are on WikiSource. The signing statements made by President Obama during his time in office have been archived here.

List of executive actions by Donald Trump

Listed below are executive orders beginning with order number 13765, Presidential memoranda, Presidential determinations, Presidential proclamations, Administrative orders, Presidential notices, Presidential sequestration orders and National security presidential memoranda signed by U.S. President Donald Trump. The total number of executive orders can be found here.

List of extremely hazardous substances

This is the list of extremely hazardous substances defined in Section 302 of the U.S. Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C. 11002). The list can be found as an appendix to 40 C.F.R. 355. Updates as of 2006 can be seen on the Federal Register, 71 FR 47121 (August 16, 2006).

List of federally recognized tribes

This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America. There are also federally recognized Alaska Native tribes. As of 29 January 2018, 573 Native American tribes were legally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the United States. Of these, 231 are located in Alaska.

List of proclamations by Donald Trump

Listed below are the Presidential proclamations beginning with 9570 signed by United States President Donald Trump.

As of March 13, 2019, there have been 280 Presidential proclamations signed by President Trump.

Office of Foreign Assets Control

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department. It administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. Under Presidential national emergency powers, OFAC carries out its activities against foreign states as well as a variety of other organizations and individuals, like terrorist groups, deemed to be a threat to U.S. national security.As a component of the U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC operates under the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and is primarily composed of intelligence targeters and lawyers. While many of OFAC's targets are broadly set by the White House, most individual cases are developed as a result of investigations by OFAC's Office of Global Targeting (OGT).Sometimes described as one of the "most powerful yet unknown" government agencies, OFAC was founded in 1950 and has the power to levy significant penalties against entities that defy its directives, including imposing fines, freezing assets, and barring parties from operating in the United States. In 2014, OFAC reached a record $963 million settlement with the French bank BNP Paribas, which was a portion of an $8.9 billion penalty imposed in relation to the case as a whole.

Office of the Federal Register

The Office of the Federal Register is an office of the United States government within the National Archives and Records Administration.

The Office publishes the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, Public Papers of the Presidents, and United States Statutes at Large, among others. It also examines Electoral College and Constitutional amendment ratification documents for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature.In May 2014, the Office held an "editathon" which focused on improving Wikipedia entries related to government entities.

Presidential directive

A Presidential directive, or executive action, is a written or oral instruction or declaration issued by the President of the United States, which may draw upon the powers vested in the president by the U.S. Constitution, statutory law, or, in certain cases, congressional and judicial acquiescence. Such directives, which have been issued since the earliest days of the federal government, have become known by various names, and some have prescribed forms and purposes. Presidential directives remain in effect until they are revoked, which the president is free to do. The classification of presidential directives is not easily done, as the distinction between the types can be quite arbitrary, arising from convenience and bureaucratic evolution, and none are defined in the Constitution. Furthermore, the different types may overlap. As one legal scholar put it: "it is a bit misleading to overclassify presidential directives as comprising separate and distinct 'types' just because they have different headings at the top of the first page". In terms of legal applicability, what matters is the substance of the directive, not the form, unless a certain kind of directive is specifically required by relevant statute.

Presidential memorandum

A presidential memorandum is a type of directive issued by the President of the United States to manage and govern the actions, practices, and policies of the various departments and agencies found under the executive branch of the United States government. It has the force of law and is usually used to delegate tasks, direct specific government agencies to do something, or to start a regulatory process. There are three types of presidential memoranda: presidential determination or presidential finding, memorandum of disapproval, and hortatory memorandum.Sometimes used interchangeably, an executive order is a more prestigious form of executive action that must cite the specific constitutional or statutory authority the president has to use it. Unlike executive orders, memoranda are not required by law to be published in the Federal Register, but publication is necessary in order to have "general applicability and legal effect". The Federal Register gives publication priority to executive orders and presidential proclamations over memoranda. Memoranda can be amended or rescinded by executive orders or another memorandum, but executive orders take legal precedence and cannot be changed by a memorandum.


In administrative law, rule-making is the process that executive and independent agencies use to create, or promulgate, regulations. In general, legislatures first set broad policy mandates by passing statutes, then agencies create more detailed regulations through rulemaking.

By bringing detailed scientific and other types of expertise to bear on policy, the rulemaking process has been the means by which some of the most far-reaching government regulations of the 20th century have been created. For example, science-based regulations are critical to modern programs for environmental protection, food safety, and workplace safety. However, the growth in regulations has fueled criticism that the rulemaking process reduces the transparency and accountability of democratic government.

United States Government Manual

The United States Government Manual is the official handbook of the federal government, published annually by the Office of the Federal Register and printed and distributed by the United States Government Printing Office. The first edition was issued in 1935; before the 1973/74 edition it was known as the United States Government Organization Manual.

The Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees. Appendices include a list of agency acronyms and a cumulative list of agencies terminated, transferred, or changed in name since 1933.

A typical federal agency description includes:

A brief history of the agency, including its legislative or executive authority.

A description of its programs and activities.

A list of officials heading major operating units.

A summary statement of the agency's purpose and role in the Federal Government.

Information, addresses, websites and phone numbers to help users locate detailed information on consumer activities, contracts and grants, employment, publications, and other matters of public interest.Since 2011 the Manual has been freely offered online, in a continuously updated edition, with annual printed editions still made available.The Federal Digital System (FDsys) offers freely downloadable PDF copies of the U.S. Government Manual for 1995-96 and all subsequent editions to the present, and ASCII text copies from 1995-96 to 2009-2010. The annual printed edition of the Manual was discontinued in 2015.

United States Statutes at Large

The United States Statutes at Large, commonly referred to as the Statutes at Large and abbreviated Stat., are an official record of Acts of Congress and concurrent resolutions passed by the United States Congress. Each act and resolution of Congress is originally published as a slip law, which is classified as either public law (abbreviated Pub.L.) or private law (Pvt.L.), and designated and numbered accordingly. At the end of a Congressional session, the statutes enacted during that session are compiled into bound books, known as "session law" publications. The session law publication for U.S. Federal statutes is called the United States Statutes at Large. In that publication, the public laws and private laws are numbered and organized in chronological order. U.S. Federal statutes are published in a three-part process, consisting of slip laws, session laws (Statutes at Large), and codification (United States Code).

Federal legislation
Policies and manuals
Supreme Court decisions

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