What is the FEDERAL REGISTER?

What is the Federal Register?

The Federal Register is a legal newspaper published every business day by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). It contains Federal agency regulations; proposed rules and notices; and Executive orders, proclamations and other Presidential documents. The Federal Register informs citizens of their rights and obligations and provides access to a wide range of Federal benefits and opportunities for funding. NARA’s Office of the Federal Register prepares the Federal Register for publication in partnership with the Government Printing Office (GPO), which distributes it in paper, on microfiche and on the World Wide Web.

Why Should I read the Federal Register?

  • If you need to know about the day-to-day operations of the Federal Government;
  • If your business is regulated by a Federal agency;
  • If you are an attorney practicing before a regulatory agency;
  • If your organization attends public hearings or meetings or applies for grants;
  • If you are concerned with Government actions that affect the environment, health care, financial services, exports, education, or other major public policy issues

    -- Then reading the Federal Register may be vital to you and your customers.

How is the Federal Register Organized?

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

  • Presidential Documents, including Executive orders and proclamations;
  • Rules and Regulations, including policy statements and interpretations of rules;
  • Proposed Rules, including petitions for rulemaking and other advance proposals; and
  • Notices, including scheduled hearings and meetings open to the public, grant applications, and administrative orders.
Documents published in the Federal Register as rules and proposed rules include citations to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to refer readers to the CFR parts affected. The CFR contains the complete and official text of agency regulations organized into fifty titles covering broad subject areas. The CFR is updated and published once a year in print, fiche and on-line formats.

How do I find the information I need?

The daily Federal Register has a table of contents organized alphabetically by agency, which lists each document and span of pages. Two monthly publications provide information on documents that appeared in past issues of the Federal Register: the LSA (List of CFR Sections Affected) is a numerical listing that helps readers track changes to the CFR; and the Federal Register Index is a cumulative subject index of documents published in the Federal Register.

The on-line edition has the same table of contents as the paper edition with hypertext links to take users directly to each document in the current issue. Tables of contents with these hypertext links provide easy access to Federal Register documents published since January 1, 1998.

How can I use the Federal Register to affect Federal rulemaking?

Federal agencies are required to publish notices of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to enable citizens to participate in the decision making process of the Government. This notice and comment procedure is simple. A proposed rule published in the Federal Register notifies the public of a pending regulation. Any person or organization may comment on it directly, either in writing, or orally at a hearing. Many agencies also accept comments via e-mail. The comment period varies, but it usually is 30, 60, or 90 days. For each notice, the Federal Register gives detailed instructions on how, when, and where a viewpoint may be expressed. In addition, agencies must list the name and telephone number of a person to contact for further information. When agencies publish final regulations in the Federal Register, they must address the significant issues raised in comments and discuss any changes made in response to them. Agencies also may use the notice and comment process to stay in contact with constituents and to solicit their views on various policy and program issues.

How does NARA use the Federal Register?

Like all agencies, NARA publishes documents in the Federal Register to carry out its statutory responsibilities. These responsibilities include preservation, management and access to Federal and Presidential records. For example, NARA publishes for public comment proposed rules to set standards for electronic, audiovisual and micrographic records; to announce the opening of donated historical records and Presidential materials; to develop design standards for Presidential libraries; and to set copying fees and hours of operation. NARA considers these public comments in developing final regulations, which are published in the Federal Register and codified in title 36 of the CFR. NARA also publishes notices of agency records schedules for public comment as required by 44 U.S.C. 3303a.

In addition, NARA publishes Federal Register notices to request customer views on a variety of other subjects. These include requests for comments on the strategic plan and proposed information collection activities as well as invitations to attend public meetings of special working groups on subjects such as space planning and electronic records.

Where is the Federal Register available?

Free access to the on-line Federal Register and CFR on GPO Access:

  • http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.
  • Depository Library locations and Federal Register services: http://www.nara.gov/fedreg.
  • Prices and ordering information for paper and fiche: call 202-512-1800, M-F, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fax orders and inquiries: send to 202-512-2250 (anytime).
  • Mail orders: Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954.
  • E-mail questions and comments on Federal Register services: info@fedreg.nara.gov.
Are there copyright restrictions on Federal Register documents?

No, everything that appears in the Federal Register may be reproduced without restriction

Is Federal Register information available in advance of publication?

Documents are held in confidentiality until they are filed for public inspection at least one business day before publication in the Federal Register. NARA produces a “List of Documents on Public Inspection,” which includes a short description of documents on file and the date they will appear in theFederal Register. The list is updated daily on the NARA Website (http://www.nara.gov/fedreg/public.html#top). You may read or copy documents on public inspection during business hours at the Office of the Federal Register, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Room 700, Washington, D.C. There is a nominal per-page charge for copies.

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