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Quick Overview of the Federal Register

Quick Overview of the Federal RegisterWhat is the Federal Register?

The Federal Register is the official journal or publication of the United States federal government. The Federal Register contains the majority of routine publications and public notices of various government agencies and is compiled by the Office of the Federal Register. The publication, which is circulated daily, is printed by the Government Printing Office. There are presently no copyright restrictions on works within the Federal Register, because the publication is labeled as a work of the United States Federal Government and is therefore considered to be in the public domain.

The Federal Register was officially created in 1935 under the Federal Register Act and was subsequently improved and amended by the Administrative Procedure Act in June of 1946. As the main source of news for the agencies operating within the United States federal government, the Federal Register contains the following contents: news regarding proposed new rules and regulations; official transcripts documents and elucidating upon final rules; all changes to existing rules and notices of meetings and adjudicatory proceedings.

In essence, the Federal Register, is a means for the United States federal government to distribute their thoughts to the people; furthermore, the publication also serves as the official publication of record for all the approved acts of the United States federal government.

How is the Federal Register Formatted?

Each daily issue of the Federal Register is organized into the following four parts:

Presidential Documents Section, which contains a list of all executive orders and proclamations

A rules and regulations section, which provides policy statements and interpretations of rules issued by federal agencies

A list of proposed rules, including all petitions set forth by agencies for assistance in rulemaking, as well as other proposals

Notices, including all scheduled hearings and meetings open to public, administrative orders and grant applications

How do I Purchase the Federal Register and what is excluded from the Publication?

Not all legislation or documents created by the United States federal agencies are published in the Federal Register—the government possesses the authority to classify documents so that they are not made public.  The agencies required to publish findings in the Federal Registers are only those who are mandated to promulgate regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.

To purchase current or back copies of the Federal Register, you may contact the United States Government Printing Office—when you obtain a copy, each issue has a subscription page. Currently, a year’s subscription to the Federal Register is $929—each individual issue is priced between $11 to $33 depending on the number of pages. To obtain free copies of the Federal Register, virtually every law library associated with an American bar Association accredited law school will have a set available for reading. In addition to law schools, all federal depository libraries make the publication available for use.