Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Regulatory History

We are used to searching for legislative history, but what about regulatory history? For most researchers, trying to find answers to questions about the language of a regulation, or the reasons behind a regulation used to be limited to reviewing the "proposed regulation" and the "final regulation" entries printed in the Federal Register.

But there were always other documents that might be of interest in the agency's file (its "docket") on the particular rule. These may now be accessed online at That website contains proposed regulations, final regulations, some agency notices, and some agency docket materials. For instance, if the agency posts its dockets at this website, you may be able to find the comments submitted by the public on a proposed rule. In fact, you will be able to comment yourself online at that website on proposed regulations if the period for comments is still open!

For more information about researching administrative law, check out the Gallagher Law Library's U.S. Administrative Law Research guide.

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