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Regulatory History: Introduction

This guide provides information on conducting regulatory history research and includes links to resources for both Federal and Washington State regulatory materials.

Introduction

Federal and state regulations are promulgated by administrative agencies and have the same effect as statutory law.  Federal regulations are first published as a proposed rule and as a final rule in the Federal Register before they are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.  

Just as you might trace the legislative history of a statute to derive additional meaning or intent, you can also trace the history of a regulation.  While the CFR includes the text of the regulation, the Federal Register will also include historical material.   Once you have a citation in hand to your regulation of interest, follow these steps to compile a regulatory history. 

Getting Started

Be sure to take a look at some of our other helpful research guides to begin your research:

Administrative Law: Online Sources is a great starting point which provides links to online sources for both federal and Washington state administrative regulations.  You will find multiple ways to access the Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register, Washington Administrative Code, and the Washington State Register.

You may also find these sources in print in the library:

  • Code of Federal Regulations, KF70 .A3 - Chastek 2nd Floor
  • Federal Register (2005 - ), KF70 .A21 - Chastek 2nd Floor
  • Washington Administrative Code (1977 - ), KFW35 .A2 - Chastek 1st Floor Kelley Reading Room (current), 2nd Floor (current), and 3rd Floor (older volumes)
  • Washington State Register (1978 - ), KFW35 .A22r - Chastek 1st Floor Kelley Reading Room

For helpful information on updating the Code of Federal Regulations and the Washington Administrative Code in print, please see the following guides:

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