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University at Buffalo Libraries

Laws and Regulations


The Arts & Sciences Libraries have selected documents relating to laws and regulations. The Law Library houses the University's main statutory and regulatory collection.

Laws differ from regulations. Elected legislative bodies enact laws or statutes. They must be signed by the President, governors, or other appropriate executives to become effective. Executive agencies and administrative bodies enact regulations or rules based upon authority provided by law. Draft regulations are issued for public comment after which the agencies issue their final regulations. Unlike laws, regulations are not approved by elected bodies. As with breaking the law, failure to adhere to regulations also has consequences.


US Federal Government: Laws

Annotated Constitution

The Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service annotated the Constitution to include summaries of court cases and legislation that interpret the document.


United States Code (USC)

USC is a subject arrangement of the laws reflecting all additions, deletions and revisions at the time of publication. The print edition is updated once every six years, with annual supplements that document current changes. Print editions are available at Lockwood Documents US Y1.2/5: and also in the Law Library. Several sources offer online access to the USC.


Public Laws

Copies of Public Laws are available in both Lockwood Documents and the Law Library. Bills signed into law are first published as Slip Laws (Lockwood Documents US AE 2.110/2:). Lockwood Library discards slip laws after they are republished in the Statutes at Large (Lockwood Documents US GS 4.111: 1894-1983 & US AE 2.111: 1984-present). View online editions of the Statutes from the University of Cincinnati covering 1789-1925 at http://homepages.uc.edu/~armstrty/statutes.html.

Several sources offer online access to slip laws.

  • Public Laws via ProQuest Congressional
    http://library.buffalo.edu/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
    Select the Laws menu to access public laws from 1988 (100th Congress, second session) forward. Search either by keyword or number. (Number searches include Public Law number, Statutes at Large citation number, or enacted bill number).
  • Public Laws via THOMAS (US House of Representatives)
    http://thomas.loc.gov
    Provides full texts of public laws from the 104th Congress (1995) to date. Laws enacted since the 93rd Congress (1973) are summarized.
  • Public and Priviate Laws (US Government Printing Office)
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=PLAW
    Search or browse for public laws from the 104th Congress (1995) to date.
  • Legislative Histories for Public Laws (ProQuest)
    http://library.buffalo.edu/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
    Legislative histories give chronological lists of actions on bills and cite publications associated with the bills. This information can be very important when determining Congressional intent. Search or browse legislative histories by selecting either the "CIS Index" or the "Laws" options.

US Federal Government: Regulations

See A Research Guide to the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations by Richard J. McKinney for additional information about federal regulations. (http://www.llsdc.org/fr-cfr-research-guide)

REGULATIONS.gov (Interagency program led by the US Environmental Protection Agency)
http://www.regulations.gov/
A central portal for US government regulations and rule making. Browse or search for information using basic or advanced menus. Related links lead to additional information.

Regulatory Resource Center (OMB Watch)
http://www.ombwatch.org/regresources
Provides background information for the lay person about the rule making process, commenting about regulations, and the Federal Register and the Unified Agenda.


Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Contains the cumulative regulations in force at the time of publication. The 50 "titles" are updated on a rotating basis over a one-year period. The most recent print edition is in the Law Library. (Law Federal Core Collection US 005 A3). Consult the "Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)" home page for additional information. (http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/publications/code_of_federal_regulations.html) Online access to the CFR is from:

  • CFR via ProQuest Congressional
    http://library.buffalo.edu/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
    Choose the "Regulations" option to search or browse the CFR.
  • Code of Federal Regulations (Annual Edition) (US Government Printing Office)
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionCfr.action?collectionCode=CFR
    Provides access to all 50 titles of the CFR from 1996-present. Titles are updated throughout the year on a quarterly schedule. Users may browse or search the entire code or selected titles. Note: The text at this site is considered an official version of the CFR.

Federal Register

A daily newspaper that prints proposed regulations available for public comment; final regulations; agency notices; and Presidential Executive Orders. The current three years are available in Lockwood Library. (US AE 2.106:) The Law Library has paper and microform copies covering 1936-present. See "The Federal Register: What It Is and How to Use It" for additional information. (http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/tutorial/about_tutorial.html) The Federal Register is online at:

  • Federal Register via ProQuest Congressional
    http://library.buffalo.edu/e-resources/cis.html (current UB username and password required)
    Under the "Regulations" link, the full text of the Federal Register is available dating back to July 1, 1980. Keyword searching allows limitations by agency, type of action and/or date. Retrieval by CFR or FR citation number is also available.
  • Federal Register (U.S. Government Printing Office)
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR
    Available from 1994-present, with the ability to search by keyword within selected sections of the publication.

Unified Agenda
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=GPO&browsePath=Unified+Agenda&isCollapsed=false&leafLevelBrowse=false&ycord=0 (1994-2010)
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/searchresults.action?st=collection%3Afr+mods%3AtocSubject1%3A%22Regulatory+Agenda%22+publishdate%3Arange%282011-01-01%2C%29 (2011+)
The Unified Agenda (also known as the Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda) is published in the Federal Register, usually during April and October each year, to fulfill the requirement that agencies describe the regulatory actions they are developing.

 

The full text is searchable from 1994-present, and browseable from 2002-present.


Major Regulatory Agencies

The Federal Regulatory Directory (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, updated irregularly)
LOCKWOOD KF5406 .A15 F4 most recent in Reference
LAW General Collection KF5406.A15 F4 most recent in Reference
Summarizes activities of major federal regulatory agencies. Information includes backgrounds, organizational structures, and responsibilities of agencies; references to related legislation; summaries of current issues; phone numbers and contacts; and sources of additional information.


New York State

Compiling the Legislative History of a New York State Law (New York State Library)
http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/leghist/leghis.htm
Twelve basic, intermediate, and advanced steps take researchers through the process.

Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide. 3rd ed. Buffalo, NY: William Hein and Company, 2004.
Law Reference Desk KFN5074 .G53 2004 (also in Law New York Alcove, Law Reference, Law Archives, and Law General Collection)
The following chapters pertain to laws, legislation, and regulations:

  • Chapter 3: State Legislation: Revisions and Compilations of New York Legislation from 1638-1950.
  • Chapter 4: State Legislation: Consolidated Laws, Unconsolidated Laws, and Other Legislation.
  • Chapter 9: Administrative Codes, Rules, and Regulations.
  • Chapter 10: Administrative Decisions, Opinions and Rulings, and Documents of the Governor.
  • Chapter 11: Local Legislation.
  • Chapter 12: Indian Law.

Division of Administrative Rules (New York State. Department of State)
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/info/index.html
Oversees the New York State regulatory process. The Division of Administrative Rules replaces the former Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR). References link to:

  • New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)-the codified version of New York State Regulations
  • New York State Register-a weekly newspaper that lists proposed and new regulations, and other administrative announcements.
  • Rule making frequently asked questions.
  • Rule Making in New York Manual.
  • Rule making forms.
  • Rule making calendar/production schedule.
  • Proposed regulations.
  • Publications.

HOW TO COMPILE A LEGISLATIVE HISTORY FOR NEW YORK STATE (Pace Law School)
http://lawweb.pace.edu/library/nylegishist.pdf
Covers getting started; codes, session laws, and bills; memoranda; legislative journals; hearings and debates; bill jackets; and guides to legislative history research.

Laws of the State of New York (New York State. Legislative Bill Drafting Commission).
Law New York Core Collection US/N7 002.5 N46
Reproduces the laws enacted in each year's legislative session. Arrangement is by "Chapter" numbers or law numbers.

McKinney's ... Session Laws of New York (New York State Legislative Service)
LAW New York Core Collection US/N7 002.5 N46
Reproduces enacted legislation, plus additional background information, such as memos prepared by the Governor, legislators, and agencies.

New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) (New York State. Department of State)
http://www.dos.ny.gov/info/nycrr.html
Reproduces unofficial copies of state agency regulations. Additional links provide access to the State Register, a rule making FAQ, and the New York State rule making manual.

New York State Laws (New York State Assembly)
http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sl=0
Links to the New York State Constitution; New York State Consolidated Laws; and New York State Unconsolidated Laws.

New York State Register (New York State. Department of State. Office of Information Services)
Law Library General Collection US/N7 003.5 N533-current issues; earlier issues at LAW Koren MicFiche US/N7 003.5 N533 (1979+)
A weekly journal that reproduces proposed, emergency, and final regulations, and notices issued by New York State Agencies.

New York State Research (University at Buffalo Law Library)
http://law.lib.buffalo.edu/legalsources/byjurisdiction.asp?tab=5&panel=1#TabbedPanels1
Topics cover databases, Internet sites, and executive, legislative, and judicial sources. Additional links lead to study guides on nearly 15 aspects of New York law.

Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations, State of New York. Albany, NY: New York State. Department of State. Loose-leaf service updated regularly.
Law New York Core US/N7 003.5 N532.
A multi-volume compilation of rules and regulations and regulations issued by New York State agencies.

The Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York and the State Register: Their History and Use. Albany: New York State Library. Legislative and Governmental Services, 1984.
Ref KFN5074.C374 1984
Law Reference/Ref Desk KFN5035 .C37 1984
The Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York and the State Register are two significant sources for New York State rules and regulations. Author Robert Allan Carter describes and illustrates both titles.

Regulatory Agenda (New York State. Department of State. Office of Information Services)
Regulatory Agenda’s list and describe briefly the subjects of perspective new rules.  They include the names, offices, address, phone numbers, and email addresses of agency representatives familiar with the rules.  Two types of information are Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFAs) and Rural Area Flexibility Analysis (RAFAs). 

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFAs)

  • Describe the types and numbers of small businesses and local governments to which the rule will apply.
  • Describe reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements.
  • Estimate costs to implement and comply with the rule.
  • Assess the economic and technological feasibility of compliance by small businesses and local governments.
  • Explain how the rule minimizes adverse economic impacts on small businesses and local governments.
  • Describe how small businesses and local governments participated in developing the rule.

Rules that do not have adverse economic or recordkeeping requirements on small businesses or local governments are exempt from these requirements, providing the agency issuing the rules justifies this.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis (RAFAs)

  • Describe the types and numbers of rural areas to which the rule applies.
  • Describe reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements.
  • Estimate costs to implement and comply with the rule.
  • Explain how the rule minimizes adverse impacts on rural entities.
  • Describe how rural areas participated in developing the rule.

Rules that do not have adverse impacts or recordkeeping requirements on rural public or private entities are exempt from these requirements, providing the agency issuing the rules justifies this.

The State Register publishes Regulatory Agenda’s semiannually in its first January issue and its last June issue. 

Summary of Legislation (New York State. Senate. Research Service).
Lockwood NY LEG 963.4-3 SUMLE 1975-present
Summary of Legislation describes bills enacted into law; bills vetoed by the Governor; bills passed by the Senate; and constitutional amendments passed by both houses. Organization is by subject categories. The compilers present background information about the issues; summaries of the bills; bill numbers; and chapter or law numbers.


Other States

State Governments Legal Research Sources (University at Buffalo Law Library)
http://law.lib.buffalo.edu/legalsources/byjurisdiction.asp?tab=6&panel=1#TabbedPanels1
Links to Web sites about laws and regulaions of all 50 states. UB's Law Library has additional resources about states.

Tapping State Government Information Sources. Lori L. Smith, et al. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003.
Lockwood Reference Z1223.5 .A1 T36 2003
A guide to locating government information from all 50 states, including legal materials.


Government of Canada

Canadian Legal Research Resources (University at Buffalo Law Library)
http://law.lib.buffalo.edu/legalsources/byjurisdiction.asp?tab=1&panel=1#TabbedPanels1
The University's Law Library houses Canadian legal resources. This page recommends government and non-government Internet resources.

Department of Justice Canada
http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/index.html

Justice Laws Website (Canada. Department of Justice)
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/
Provides Canadian laws, regulations and selected annotated acts.

Library of Parliament Research Branch Publications (Parliament of Canada)
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/VirtualLibrary/ResearchPublications-e.asp
Documents prepared for general distribution to Canadian Parliamentarians to provide background and analysis of issues that may arise in the course of their Parliamentary duties.


International and Multi-Jurisdiction Sites

Foreign & International Legal Research Sources (University at Buffalo Law Library)
http://law.lib.buffalo.edu/legalsources/byjurisdiction.asp?tab=2&panel=1#TabbedPanels1
Highlights the Law Library's foreign law collection and links to selected Web sites.

Global Legal Information Network (US Library of Congress)
http://www.glin.gov/
Reproduces laws, regulations, and judicial decisions, plus other legal resources, provided by nations and international agencies throughout the world. Information is in the original language with English summaries.

Law From Around the Globe (Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute)
http://www.law.cornell.edu/world/
Compiles guides to foreign and international law by individual country, geographic region, or subject area of law.