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Chapter II of this handbook contains an introduction to, and brief history of, the Federal Register system. Chapter III contains general guidelines for document preparation and the procedures to be followed for submittal of documents. Chapters IV through VI offer advice on the general style and arrangement of documents, spell out requirements and make recommendations for the drafting of rules, proposals, and notices.
Of special importance is the discussion on preambles in Chapter IV. There is a growing demand (including a number of not so subtle nudges from the judiciary) for regulatory documents to include adequate background information because, without it, the FEDERAL REGISTER makes little sense to an increasingly interested public. Recognizing this need, the regulations of the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register now require every proposal and every rulemaking document to begin with a "clear preamble statement that describes the con. tents of the document in a manner sufficient to apprise a reader, who is not an expert in the subject area, of the general subject matter of the rulemaking document." (See 1 CFR 18.12)
Supplement A which contains additional examples of various documents and the index are both in. cluded to further assist the document drafter. Sup. plements B through E are included for ready reference.
a brief history of the federal register system
Publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER carries with it a number of legal effects. It serves as official notice of a document's existence and its contents. It establishes an accuracy of text and indicates the date of a regulation's promulgation. Moreover, the printed FEDERAL REGISTER version of a document constitutes prima facie evidence in a court of law and must be judicially noticed.
Most documents that appear in the FEDERAL REGISTER are required by law to be published there. These include:
1. Presidential proclamations, Executive orders, and other Presidential documents;
2. Documents generally required to be published under the Federal Register Act or the Administrative Procedure Act; and
3. Documents required to be published under a specific act of Congress.
In addition, the Director of the Office of the Federal Register is authorized under the Federal Regis. ter Act to publish documents which he considers to be in the public interest.
Appearance of a regulation in the FEDERAL REG. ISTER fulfills only part of the publication require. ments. The codified material also becomes a part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) added several dimensions to the system outlined in the 1935 law. The 1946 measure introduced as a gen. eral requirement the element of public participation into the rulemaking process. It required agencies to publish certain regulations initially as proposals and to allow interested citizens time for comment before final adoption. The APA also required agencies to publish routinely other types of material in addition to regulations. This new requirement cov. ered materials such as organization descriptions and procedure! rules.
The FEDERAL REGISTER is the publication established by Congress to inform the public about the regulations of the executive branch and independent administrative agencies of the U.S. Government. The FEDERAL REGISTER'S present functions have been shaped largely by two laws, The Federal Register Act of 1935 (44 U.S.C., Ch. 15) and The Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.).
Congress passed the Federal Register Act to alleviate the communications problem between the Federal agencies and the public caused by the surge of regulatory activity in the early 1930's. Underlying its establishment was the recognition that citizens could not be presumed to know the rapidly expand. ing body of administrative law unless that law could be found. The need for "publication" of regulatory provisions was highlighted by a Supreme Court case in which the Government attorney admitted that cer. tain regulatory provisions basic to the Government's suit had mistakenly been rescinded (Panama Refining Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388 (1935)). The Federal Register Act for the first time established a uniform system for the handling of agency issuances by providing for: (1) Filing, (2) placement on public inspection, (3) publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER, and (4) permanent codification, where applicable.
From the mid-thirties until the late sixties, these two laws defined the basic functions of the FED. ERAL REGISTER. Since the late sixties, however, these functions have expanded because the roles of the administrative agencies have become far more extensive than before. These different roles have re. flected and created various social and legal changes. Both the volume of administrative law promulgated and the number of persons who might be "directly affected" by a Federal regulation have increased dramatically. Legislation such as the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the Environmental Quality Act of 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the Consumer Product Safety Act has been responsible for creating new and far-reaching administrative law.
While Federal regulations have been affecting greater numbers of citizens, the courts have de. parted from traditional restrictive notions of "standing" and have recognized rights in many previously
excluded parties to participate in agency proceedings or to seek judicial review of proceedings, or both. As a result few regulatory programs operate, as they once did, as a two party transaction—the Government agency versus the regulated industry with the Government agency representing the public interest. Today non-governmental “public interest" groups, “consumer" groups, and individual citizens can, and do, become involved in many regulatory programs.
Another development has been an increased concern with the clarity of documents placed on record by Federal agencies. In order for citizen participation in a decision making process to be effective, the actual publication of regulations or proposed regulations must convey useful and accurate information. In the past several years numerous Federal actions have been successfully challenged on the ground that the documents published by an agency did not actually inform persons who might be interested in or affected by impending changes in the law.
As a result, the Office of the Federal Register has actively sought to improve the quality of the documents published. The primary example of these efforts is the preamble requirement (1 CFR 18.12) of the Administrative Committee of the Federal Reg. ister, which took effect in January, 1972. A recent and related development is Recommendation 74-3 of the Administrative Conference of the United States concerning what constitutes an adequate "informal record" in proceedings under 5 U.S.C. 553.
While the most visible result of many of these changes on the Federal Register system has been the record number of published pages in the daily issues, a far more important result has been the emergence of the Federal Register as an active force in improving the quality of the documents it publishes.
Part A — Preparation
general guides for document preparation & transmittal
Paper — Use bond paper or photocopy approximately 8 by 101/2 inches in size. Leave a 1-inch margin at the top, bottom, and right side and a 11/2-inch margin at left. Number all pages consecu. tively. (See example on next page.)
Spacing — Double space all primary text. Single space:
(a) Tables of sections (part tables of contents). (b) Authority statements in rules documents. (c) Lists of items. (d) Quoted material when set apart from regular
text, not "run-in." (e) Footnotes and notes to tables.
Signature — The signature of the issuing official should be placed on a page which also includes some material that can be identified with the text. This recommendation is made as a safeguard for the integrity of the document and to prevent text from being inserted or dropped after the document is signed.