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LRAW Research Spring 2023

What Are Regulations?

A regulation is a "rule . . . having legal force, . . . issued by an administrative agency."
Regulation, Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

 

Before a regulation can be made,

  1. an administrative agency must first be created by the legislature (by statute), and
  2. the legislature must (by statute) empower the agency to make regulations on a specific topic.

After all of this statutory authority is in place, an agency can then make regulations that are within the agency's area of expertise as defined by statute, and those regulations will have the force of law.

For these reasons, you will find that the process of researching regulations will often require researching statutes as well.

When researching online, a statute created by the legislature can look very similar to a regulation created by an agency, so be careful to distinguish at all times whether you are looking at the Code of Laws (statutes) or the Code of Regulations.

The SC Regulatory Process

After the South Carolina legislature (also known as the General Assembly) has created a state agency, and has given the agency power to write regulations, then the agency's process of making regulations is known as the regulatory process.

A course in administrative law will interest those who want to know details about temporary regulations, emergency regulations, and so on. However, the basic outline below of South Carolina's typical regulatory process is enough for LRAW purposes.

  1. Notice of Drafting - When an agency publishes a notice of drafting in the South Carolina State Register, the public is being given an opportunity to comment on whether and how regulations should be drafted on the stated topic.
  2. Proposed Regulations - When an agency publishes the text of proposed regulations in the South Carolina State Register, the public has another opportunity to comment on the regulations as written. Based on the feedback it receives, the agency may revise the regulations before it submits the final version to the General Assembly for approval.
  3. Final Regulations - After approval by the General Assembly, final regulations are published in the South Carolina State Register. The effective date of the regulations is the date of publication, unless a different date is stated.

Red and black volumes of SC Code of Regulations

All South Carolina regulations that are currently in effect are organized by agency and arranged by chapters and sections (i.e., codified) in the South Carolina Code of Regulations.

In print, the red SC Code of Regulations is typically shelved immediately after the blue SC Code of Laws, both of which are considered part of the South Carolina Code Annotated.

 

Example in the SC Code of Regulations

To find an example of a South Carolina regulation: go to scstatehouse.gov. Under "South Carolina Law," click on "Code of Regulations."

screenshot

Scroll down, noticing how the Code of Regulations is organized with each agency having its own chapter, including, for example:

CHAPTER 44 - SOUTH CAROLINA LOTTERY COMMISSION

 

To see the full text of the regulations the Lottery Commission has made, you'll need to choose either the Word or PDF version. Either way, Chapter 44 of the South Carolina Code of Regulations begins like this:

CHAPTER 44
South Carolina Lottery Commission
(Statutory Authority: 1976 Code, Section 59-150-70)
44-10 Definitions.
    A. “Act” means the South Carolina Education Lottery Act (Act 59 of 2001).
...
    FF. “Winning Combination” means numbers or symbols chosen during the drawing process used by SCEL to select the winning numbers in online games with live drawings.
HISTORY: Added by State Register Volume 26, Issue No. 6, Part 2, eff June 28, 2002.

 

Notice as you navigate:

  1. The name of the agency that made this regulation (South Carolina Lottery Commission) appears just after the chapter number. 
  2. The Statutory Authority in parentheses gives you the citation to the state statute (S.C. Code Ann. § 59-150-70) that gave the agency the rulemaking power to make this regulation.
  3. The citation for the first section of this regulation has only two numbers, 44-10, indicating Chapter 44, Section 10.
  4. The regulation begins with a "Definitions" section. Beginning with definitions is typical for statutes as well as regulations.
  5. The History line, below the text of the regulation, tells you the issue of the South Carolina State Register in which the final regulation was published, and the date that the regulation became effective (June 28, 2002). If there are any subsequent amendments to this section of the regulation, details of their publication as final regulations in the State Register will also be listed in the History line, which allows a researcher to track changes to the regulation over time. In this example, there is only one publication in the State Register, and no subsequent amendments.

Example in the SC State Register

State Legislature Website: SC State Register

To see where the above example regulation (S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 44-10) was published as a final regulation in the State Register (as cited in the History line): go to scstatehouse.gov. Under "South Carolina Law," click on "State Register."

Scroll down, noticing how the State Register is organized with a Volume every year, and with an Issue every month, including, for example:

2001-2002  Index for State Register Volume 25 July 27 | ... | ... | ... | ... | ... | ... | ... | ... | ... | ... June 28 |

 

Click on "June 28," and download the PDF titled "SR 26-6." The title of the PDF indicates that it is State Register Volume 26, Issue 6, which matches the History line (HISTORY: Added by State Register Volume 26, Issue No. 6, Part 2, eff June 28, 2002.)

On page 8 of the PDF, the Table of Contents lists all final regulations being published on June 28, 2002 by all South Carolina agencies, including the Lottery Commission final regulations.

screenshot

Scrolling in the PDF to where the final regulation is printed (pagination is often imperfect, so ctrl+f or cmd+f may be helpful), there is:

  • a synopsis of the regulation,
  • instructions to add the sections to Chapter 44 in the Code of Regulations, and
  • the full text of each section of the regulation.
Synopsis:
The South Carolina Education Lottery Act (Act 59 of 2001) requires the South Carolina Lottery Commission to promulgate regulations to carry out and implement its powers and duties to regulate the conduct and operation of lottery games. ...
Instructions: Add new R.44-10 through 44-130, South Carolina Lottery Commission, to new Chapter 44.
Text:
44-10. Definitions.
A. “Act” means the South Carolina Education Lottery Act (Act 59 of 2001). ...

History Line on Westlaw and Lexis

Westlaw: History Line

Scroll down to the bottom of a regulation to find its History line.

On Westlaw, if you look up S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 7-401 and scroll to the bottom of the regulatory text, the History line shows this regulation was first made effective on June 27, 2003, and that an amendment was made to it, effective July 23, 2010.

Credits

HISTORY: Added by State Register Volume 27, Issue No. 6, Part 2, eff June 27, 2003. Amended by State Register Volume 34, Issue No. 7, eff July 23, 2010.

Lexis: History Line

Scroll down to the bottom of a regulation to find the History line.

On Lexis, if you look up S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 7-401, you'll find the History line below the regulation.

History

 
Added by State Register Volume 27, Issue No. 6, Part 2, eff June 27, 2003. Amended by State Register Volume 34, Issue No. 7, eff July 23, 2010.

Why the History Line?

There is enough information in the History line to help you find the specific issue of the State Register in which a regulation was first made effective, or the issue in which an amendment to a regulation was made effective. 

For example, if you needed to know what S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 7-401 said in 2009 (after it was made a rule in 2003 and before it was amended in 2010), you could find out by looking up State Register Volume 27, Issue No. 6, Part 2.

SC State Register on Westlaw and Lexis

Westlaw: SC State Register

The SC State Register is available on Westlaw, where it is called "South Carolina Proposed & Adopted Regulations - All," but its coverage begins with January 1, 2006. If you are looking for State Register Volume 27, Issue No. 6, Part 2, effective June 27, 2003, you won't find it on Westlaw.

 

Lexis: SC State Register

The SC State Register is available on Lexis, where it is called "SC - South Carolina Register." Its coverage begins in 2000. 

If you are looking for State Register Volume 27, Issue No. 6, Part 2, effective June 27, 2003, you can search for "7-401" because a final regulation in the State Register will likely contain a reference to where in the SC Code of Regulations it will be codified. Then you can use the Timeline filter on the left to narrow to 2003.

screenshot of Lexis SC - South Carolina Register search results for 7-401, with Timeline highlighted on left

The result is the final regulation as it read from its effective date on June 27, 2003 until it was amended in July 2010. In other words, this is how R. 7-401 read in 2009.

Versions of SC Regulations

Regulations can be annotated, just as statutes can. Annotations provide:

  • explanatory notes,
  • references to secondary sources, and
  • summaries and citations of cases interpreting the regulations.

Annotated versions of the South Carolina Code of Regulations are found:

  • in print, on the 1st floor of the law library, and
  • on Westlaw.

The un-annotated text of the South Carolina Code of Regulations is available:


light green paperback with a palmetto tree "State Register"The South Carolina State Register is available:

Other State Regulations

Map of the United States

You can find other states' regulations on Westlaw and Lexis organized in a similar way to South Carolina regulations--in an administrative code like our South Carolina Code of Regulations, and in a state register like our South Carolina State Register.

Links to administrative codes and state registers of all states (free versions) are provided by the National Association of Secretaries of State, as well as in Cornell's Listing by Jurisdiction, and in FindLaw's Cases and Codes.

For additional help navigating another state's regulations, you may want to Google search "administrative law research guide" and the name of the state. Law librarians work hard to provide introductory guides to researching their own state's regulations, as in these examples from North Carolina and Georgia.