HeinOnline's Tip of the Week: How to Find Regulatory Agendas in the Federal Register after the Fall of 2007

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U.S. agencies are required to publish semiannual regulatory agendas describing regulatory actions they are developing or have recently completed, as outlined in Executive Order 12866 (58 fr 51735) and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602). These Agendas have been published in the Federal Register every year since 1983, typically once during the Spring and once during the Fall, and are found in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions section. Beginning with the fall 2007 edition of the Unified Agenda, the only Agenda entries published in the Federal Register are rules that are likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, and entries that have been selected for periodic review under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In an effort to support the Administration’s goal to move the Agenda process to an Internet based format, the full Unified Agenda is available at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain. This week’s tip is going to illustrate how you can use HeinOnline to find a Regulatory Agenda for a specific agency.

For this example, we are going to search for the Regulatory Agendas of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 2006-2008. At the beginning of each Unified Agenda you will find a Table of Contents that outlines what Agency Agendas are included in the Unified Agenda that term and on what page you can find it. You will also find a list of Agencies that did not publish any agenda entries in that print edition of the Federal Register. These agencies agendas are available from RegInfo.gov at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain.

To search for Regulatory Agendas for the CPSC, open the Field Search option from within the Federal Register Library. In the first search box, enter the name of the agency, in this case Consumer Product Safety Commission, choose phrase and full text. NOTE: It is best when entering agency names to use the full name versus an abbreviation (i.e. use Internal Revenue Service vs. IRS). In the second search box we are going to enter the term Agency Agendas, select phrase and full text. This will allow us to quickly find the Table of Contents for each Unified Agenda section and determine if the agency published it’s Agenda entries or not. In the third box, enter Unified Agenda, select phrase and full text. This will help to further refine our search by focusing on the pages found within the Unified Agenda section of the Federal Register.

Now, highlight the Federal Register from the title listing, insert the range of years for which you want to focus, in this case 2006-2008, and choose a sort by method of Volume Date - Ascending. This will allow us to see entries from 2006 first. Click search.

We get six search results; two results for each year. You’ll notice the coverage information for each result indicates that there is one result from the spring and one from the fall in each year. This coincides with when the Unified Agendas are published.

From the first result, 71 Fed. Reg. No. 78, click on View Matching Text Pages Then click on the first link to page 22271.

On this page, you will find the Table of Contents for the Unified Agenda as it was published in the Federal Register in the Spring of 2007. Here you will find Consumer Product Safety Commission and page 23547 listed.

This allows us to quickly pull up that page to view the Agenda. To get to this page, choose 23547 from the page pull down above the page, and this will take you directly to the Regulatory Agenda for the CPSC.

Now, if we go back to our search results by clicking on Search History and then clicking on our search, we can view the remainder of our results.

From this results list, click on View Matching Text Pages from the last result, 73 Fed. Reg. No. 227 (2008). Now click on the first page link to page 71095.

This will bring up the Table of Contents for the Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda section from the Fall 2008 Federal Register. The list of Agency Agendas included begins on the lower half of the second column. If we click next page to go to 71096, we will see that the CPSC is not included in the Table of Contents for the Agency Agendas. Therefore, we continue reading to the second column where we find a list of agencies that do not have entries identified for inclusion in the printed agenda shown in this section. The CPSC is included in this list. This means, we have to visit the RegInfo.gov site to view the CPSC’s full agenda.

To make it quick and easy for you to access this site, we’ve included a link on our External Links page. Click on the resources tab, then under External Links click on Important Federal Register Links. The fourth link listed says To Access the Current Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions Click Here.

Click on the link to go directly to the RegInfo.gov site where you can select CPSC from the drop down menu and view the current regulatory agenda. Or, if you want to view the historic agendas, click on the Historical Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan link at the top of the page, then select the year and then the agency.

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