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Research Guides

Foreign government information

A guide to major print and electronic foreign government information.

About laws and regulations

When bills are signed by the president and become law, they are given public law numbers and issued in pamphlet form as slip laws.

These laws are later bound in chronological order for each session of congress into the Statutes at Large.

Every six years, public laws are incorporated into the U.S. Code with annual cumulative supplements in the interim.

Written by executive agencies, regulations (see Federal Register) define in details how the law will be carried out.

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Slip laws

Slip Law is a new law which is identified by a public or private law number (e.g. 102 - 12) with the first set of numbers representing the number of the Congress when it passed.

U.S. code

United States Code is the official compilation of public law with a subject approach and are cited by title and section (e.g. 8 USC 1101). Private laws and legislative history are not included.

It is updated every six years, with annual cumulative supplements contain all changes to the laws since the last edition.

Provides general index and a popular name index

Presents conversion tables to translate Statutes at Large, public laws, executive orders, and proclamations citations into United States Code.

U.S. Statutes at Large

Statutes at Large contains the text of public and private laws, joint and concurrent resolutions passed during each single-year congressional session. It also provides a brief legislative history.

Includes reorganization plans, proposed and constitutional amendments and presidential proclamations.

Public and private laws are numbered in separate sequences and printed in separate sections.

Arranged by law number (e.g. PL 102-12) and are cited by volume and page number (e.g. 115 STAT 272).

Provides a subject index and a popular names index

Federal Register

What is the Federal Register?

Begun in 1936, Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.

Proposed regulations are first announced in the "Proposed Rules" section of the Federal Register (FR). After soliciting public comments, they then are published in the Federal Register as final rules and cited by volume and page (e.g. 68 FR 3588).

Check for Federal Register text, regulation text, supporting materials and public comment information.

Code of Federal Regulations

Final rules are bound into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which is arranged by 50 titles and cited by title and section number (e.g. 8 CFR 211.10).

Legislative history

Other sources