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LRAW Research Spring 2023

Updating Federal Regulations

There are several ways to update Federal Regulations, most of which use at least some online resources.  However, the most expeditious is using eCFR and the Federal Register online.  There are print resources but due to the nature of and delay in printing such resources, they are not the most up-to-date for federal agency regulations.

eCFR

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) is a web version of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that is updated daily to better reflect its current status. The Office of Federal Register (OFT) updates the material in the eCFR on a daily basis. While they do not make updates in real-time, generally the eCFR is current within two business days.

The eCFR is an editorial compilation of CFR material and amendments published in the daily Federal Register.  While it is an unofficial version of the Code of Federal Regulations, it does provide access to the official versions in the CFR on govinfo and in the Federal Register.

The e-CFR allows you to browse the CFR titles, parts, and sections or search the CFR for regulations by keyword.

On the main page of eCFR, you will find a listing of all 50 titles of the CFR, the date the title was last amended, and a link to view the recent changes. 

 

 

 

You can find how current the material is at the top of all eCFR content pages - by clicking on a title - as it is no longer on the front page of eCFR as in earlier versions.

 

 

 

 

 

To check the currentness of a particular section of the CFR, you will want to pull up that section in eCFR. 

Lets look again at 29 CFR §1980.103.

29 CFR 1980.103 on eCFR

 

 

 

Note at the top of the page is the "up to date as of..." date.  This is a notation as to the date that the entire Title is up-to-date as of, not individual Parts or Sections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29 CFR 1980.103 details on eCFR

If you click on the Details tab on the left side of the page, you will get information as to citation, URL, authority and source.  But note that it is for the entire Part, not just this section.

The "unless otherwise noted" gives you a clue that some of the sections within Part 1980 have been amended or otherwise changes since that Mar. 5, 2015 date.  

 

 

And you can see from the prior image that there is no other date listed on §1980.103.  So this particular Section is still good law, and has not been amended or changed since Mar. 5, 2015.

 

 

In perusing the rest of Part 1980, §1980.105 has been amended since 2015.

This notation provides a link directly to the Federal Register wherein this amendment was published - 86 FR 1789.

 

 

 

 

When you click on that link (Federal Register citation in blue) you will get a box describing the details of that particular Federal Register entry, and a link to view the entire documents.

When you click on "View Document" you will be taken to Federal Register website, where you can view the official version of the Federal Register as cited in eCFR.

 

 

 

 

 

When you click on the "PDF" you will be taken to the official Federal Register as published and can review the amendments or changes to the CFR as printed.  You can also view them from this webpage by scrolling or searching with Ctrl-F / Command-F.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From eCFR you can link to the published version of the CFR on govinfo, using the "Published Edition" button.

 

 

 

 


 

When using eCFR for legal research you should verify their results against the most current official edition of the CFR and the daily Federal Register, available online at www.govinfo.gov. and www.federalregister.gov.

 

There are tutorials on govinfo at the Help tab, under Tutorials and Handouts. In particular you may wish to review the video tutorial titled The eCFR or Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.  Please note that the video is from 2019 and is using an earlier iteration of the eCFR.

 

You should also review the Reader Aides in eCFR.

Example of an updated CFR section and its citation

When you find a recently updated CFR section, you will then be citing to the Federal Register not the CFR, pursuant to Blue Book Rule 14.2 (see page 143).

For example, 16 CFR §1231.2 as codified as of 2021 (the latest official version) available on govinfo appears like this, note the authentication stamp at the top left, and the Authority and Source information after the listed contents:

 

 

However a search on eCFR finds that there was a change to the section as of July 2022, within the last two weeks (captured on Aug. 1, 2022).

If you want to cite the current version of 16 CFR §1231.2 (2021), and you know it has been amended by 87 FR 42636, July 18, 2022 (eff. July 23, 2022), then you would actually just cite to the Federal Register, not the CFR, like this:

Amendment to Incorporation by Reference in Safety Standard for High Chairs, 87 FR 42636, July 18, 2022 (to be codified at 16 CFR §1231.2).

Updating Regulations in Official governement sources

The eCFR is great for finding up-to-date federal regulations.  However, remember that eCFR is not the official version of the Code of Federal Regulations.  But there is an option for updating the regulations using official sources.

To determine if the regulation(s) you are researching are up to date, the first step is to determine the date of the current published volume where the regulation(s) are; then consult the  CFR List of Sections Affected (LSA) on the govinfo.gov website or in print in the Library for any changes, additions, or removals published after the revision date of the volume that you are using.

The LSA is a supplement to the CFR published monthly, and posted on the govinfo site as well as in print, listing where each amendment to the CFR is published in the Federal Register. In the LSA, CFR titles and sections are listed in a table, in chronological order, with corresponding Federal Register citations for any additions, revisions, or amendments.

You will find the LSA on govinfo.gov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the front of each published LSA issue, there will be information about How to use this Finding Aid, which will include which volume number of the Federal Register is related to that LSA.

 

You will want to review the most recent/current LSA for the year of the CFR volume/edition you are researching.  So if your CFR edition is 2021, you won’t need to search in the 2022 LSA. After 1972, certain monthly issues of the LSA are designated as the annual issue for certain titles of the CFR - December issue for Titles 1-16, March issue for Titles 17-27, June issue for Titles 28-41, and September issue for Titles 42-50.

Once you find the citation to the Federal Register from the LSA, you can find any changes that were made to the CFR section you are researching. There might be more than one citation to changes.

 

The Federal Register is published both online and in print.  The official online version is found on govinfo.gov.

 

 

The Federal Register is published in annual volumes, with consecutive pagination for each year, so there can be thousands of pages in a volume.

In the “Readers Aids” section of each issue of the daily Federal Register there is a cumulative list of CFR parts affected that month. A current cumulative list for the month can be found in the most recent issue of the Federal Register and earlier monthly cumulative lists can be found on the last day of the month that a Federal Register was issued.

 

Once you have check the LSA and the Federal Register for any amendments or changes, you will have the most up-to-date language for the relevant Regulation.

 

Subscription electronic databases

Even if you are accessing a federal regulation in a robust electronic database like Westlaw or Lexis, you will need to check the Federal Register for any recent changes to that regulation.

For example, on July 7, 2022 the currency date for 29 CFR § 1980.103 in Westlaw was shown as current through July 7, 2022, 87 FR 40459.

 

On July 14, 2022 Lexis shows this section current as of the July 8, 2022 issue of the Federal register, with exceptions.

NOTE, currency dates in Westlaw, are below the text of the section, whereas, in Lexis it is at the top of the page.


In the following section, Updating and Finding Other Resources Using Citators (KeyCite & Shepard's). we discuss more in-depth the use of Wesltaw and Lexis for updating and finding regulations.

Tracking Federal Regulations

Regulations.gov is a free resource provided by the federal government for tracking federal agency regulatory activity, which also serves as a mechanism for citizens to comment on proposed regulations.

It also includes a link to the Regulatory Agenda for information about regulations that each federal agency plans to issue or has recently completed.

landing page for regulations.gov

 For more information and review of the federal regulatory process, visit Reginfo.gov.