Federal Regulatory History

A how-to guide explaining how to research the history of a federal regulation.


Code of Federal Regulations KF 70 A3  Law Stacks

Federal Register KF 70 A2  Law Stacks


GPO (Government Publishing Office) Allows searching of the CFR from 1996 - present and allows searching of the Federal Register from 1994 (Vol. 59) - 2008 (Vol. 73).

Cornell Law (Legal Information Institute) Searches only the current CFR.

HeinOnline Allows searching from 1936 (Vol. 1) - 2007 (Vol. 72)


Regulations.gov Regulations.gov is your source for all regulations (or rulemakings) issued by U.S. government agencies. Regulations.gov includes regulations that are open for public comment (i.e., proposed) and closed for comment (i.e., final). Regulations.gov also includes other non-rulemaking documents, such as Federal agency notices, supporting materials, public comments, and Federal agency guidance and adjudications. Regulations.gov is therefore your one-stop source to find and view all Federal regulations and related materials. Through Regulations.gov you may also comment on proposed regulations open for comment and related documents. While Regulations.gov enables Agencies to post rulemaking and non-rulemaking dockets on the site, it is up to each Department or Agency to determine what information is made available on the site. Therefore, the information displayed on Regulations.gov docket and document details screens and comment forms is unique for each Department and Agency and conforms to each Department or Agency's internal policy.

Department of Transportation DOT publishes and stores on-line information about proposed and final regulations, copies of public comments, and related information in the Dockets Management System (DMS). DOT uses this docketed material when making regulatory and adjudicatory decisions. The docketed material is available for review by interested parties. Specific documents covering the same issues are stored together in a docket. Therefore, a docket may contain several documents relating to the same subject matter. These two terms, docket and document, are used frequently throughout this site. You can think of a docket as the folder, and a document as an item in the folder.

Environmental Protection Agency Dockets, Electronic Dockets, and Information Centers serve as the repository for information related to particular Agency actions. When a rulemaking or non-rulemaking action is announced, a docket is established in EPA Dockets with an assigned tracking number to accumulate materials throughout the process. Dockets may contain Federal Register documents, a variety of supporting documentation, and public comments. Regulations.gov serves as EPA’s electronic public docket and on-line comment system.

Federal Communications Commission ECFS (Electronic Comment Filing System) serves as the repository for official records in the FCC's docketed proceedings and rulemakings from the year 1992 onward. Consumers can research, retrieve, view, and print any document in the system, including earlier non-electronic FCC documents that have been scanned into the system.

Subject Guide