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The Nitty Gritty: Tracking Federal Rules

By Bill Draper, Reference Librarian 

How do you track a proposed federal rule?
 
When you see a proposed rule, an entry in a rulemaking agenda, or an entry on Reginfo.gov, look for the special 8-digit code that will help you track that rule. That code is the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN). It looks something like this:
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The code is assigned by the Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC) in advance of its first appearance in the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
 
What is the purpose of the RIN?  It identifies a single rulemaking action, its timeline and important, relevant regulatory documents.  Federal agencies maintain comprehensive, electronic dockets, and they use the RIN to ensure that the public has the ability to track the full lifecycle of a regulatory action.  By agencies observing the RIN on all applicable rulemaking actions, they engage in a practice that aligns all federal regulatory information systems and the Unified Agenda.
 
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How is this RIN to be used? You can use it to find subsequent rulemaking in the Federal Register, on Lexis, on Westlaw, or on the Web. For example, if you have the proposed rule, you can use it to find the final rule. What’s more, on Lexis and Westlaw, you can use the RIN as you set up an alert, when the proposed rule is still pending, to notify you of the eventual issuance of the final rule. This ability is important, because there is typically no deadline for the issuance of final rules.
 
How do you search for the RIN? For example, on Westlaw, you could search: “7100-AD63” OR “7100-AD 63” in the Federal Register database. You can do similar searches on ecfr.gov, regulations.gov, FDsys, or on Reginfo.gov.
 
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What’s cool about this is that it is an incredibly accurate and efficient timesaver!