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Government Documents: Laws, Regulations and Guidance

The official homepage for Federal Depository Library #0146-A


This guide provides several handy links for several resources having to do with laws, regulations and guidance, including the following:

  • Public Laws, which are passed by Congress and either signed by the President or enacted via a veto override.  Public Laws are one way that agencies are granted authority to create regulations
  • United Statutes at Large, which is a numerically and chronologically organized collection of all Public Laws
  • United States Code (U.S.C.), which breaks down Public Laws into pieces and organizes the pieces by subject so that current law can be clearly understood
  • Executive Orders, which are another way that agencies are granted authority to create regulations
  • Federal Register (FR), which is a daily announcement of proposed and newly promulgated regulations
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which groups regulations announced in the FR by topic in a similar manner to how the U.S.C. groups Public Laws.
  • Guidance Documents from federal agencies
  •, a site that allows for public commentary on proposed rules
  •, the site of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the agency responsible for reviewing Proposed and Final rules
  • Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council, an organization of the CFO's and Deputy CFO's of the largest Federal agencies, senior officials of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of the Treasury who work collaboratively to improve financial management in the U.S. Government

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

(United States) Statutes at Large (STAT.) bills itself as "Your Voice in Federal Decisions-Making".  The site allows for public commentary on Proposed Rules, and allows for searches of commentary for Rules, Notices, and Supporting & Related Material.  This site is also useful for finding information regarding Significant Guidance Documents

Federal Register (FR)

United States Code (U.S.C.)

CFO Council

Executive Orders (EO)

Public Laws (PL)

Guidance Documents

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices on January 18, 2007.  It was announced in the Federal Register on January 25, 2007 (72 FR 3432).  According to the Federal Register entry, the Bulletin "establishes policies and procedures for the development, issuance, and use of significant guidance documents by Executive Branch departments and agencies. (The) Bulletin is intended to increase the quality and transparency of agency guidance practices and the significant guidance documents produced through them."

The Bulletin establishes and defines three categories of guidance documents:

  1. Guidance Document
  2. Significant Guidance Document
  3. Economically Significant Guidance Document

An Internet search for any of the above categories along with a specific Executive branch agency is generally successful in returning relevant results.

For a more thorough understanding of guidance documents, you may wish to consult the Federal Register entry, 72 FR 3432, which published the Final Bulletin, and Executive Order 13422, "Further Amendment to Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review" which amended Executive Order 12866, "Regulatory Planning and Review.", both of which are referenced in 72 FR 3432.