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Administrative Law Research

Introductory guide to federal and Oklahoma administrative law research

United States Government Manual

The United States Government Manual cites the statute under which an agency operates and explains the agency's functions and organizational structure.

The United States Government Manual may also be accessed as a PDF File via GovInfo.

Agency Websites

The E-Government Act of 2002 and the Connected Government Act provide guidance on development and maintenance of Federal Government Agency websites. The Connected Government Act specifically requires that agencies " ensure to the greatest extent practicable" that websites "intended for use by the public" be mobile friendly.

Agency websites often provide links to the statutory authority governing the agency and the regulatory authority issued by the agency. Agency websites are more routinely also providing access to decisions issued in carrying out their quasi-judicial functions. However, while an agency website may provide access to decisions, in some instances, the agency does not provide the ability to search a database of decisions.

Unified Agenda

Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735) and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602) require that agencies publish semiannual regulatory agendas describing regulatory actions they are developing or have recently completed. Agencies of the United States Congress are not included.

The Unified Agenda (also known as the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda), published twice a year (usually in April and October) in the Federal Register (FR), summarizes the rules and proposed rules that each Federal agency expects to issue during the next year.

The Unified Agenda is compiled by the General Services Administration's Regulatory Information Service Center in cooperation with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), part of the Office of Management and Budget. It is then published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Beginning with the fall 2007 edition of the Unified Agenda, agencies publish in the Federal Register only those Agenda entries for rules which 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 section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. For fall editions, the entire Regulatory Plan, required by Executive Order 12866, is also published in the Federal Register.

An edition of the Unified Agenda containing additional regulatory information that does not appear in the Federal Register version is available online through Reginfo.gov. The version on GPO Access is identical to the version printed in the Federal Register.  Please see Reginfo.gov for Regulatory Agenda information not published in the Federal Register.

The Regulatory Information Service Center assigns a Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) to identify each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda. Use of the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) helps ensure that Federal agencies maintain comprehensive, electronic dockets and provide the public with the ability to track the full life cycle of a regulatory action. The RIN is relevant because it represents a regulatory action as a unique identifier and can be used to search for related information on various regulatory web sites.