Where Have All the C.F.R.s Gone?

As many readers of this blog know, the Code of Federal Regulations is updated annually on a staggered schedule.  Specifically, the  updated Titles 1-16 are published on January 1 of every year, and the updated Titles 17-27 are published on April 1 of every year.  As of the writing of this blog entry, none of these titles have been updated on govinfo’s annual C.F.R. library.  When contacted for an explanation, the reasoning given was that govinfo places them “online as we receive them and our office has not receive those CFR’s for online posting.  I don’t know why or where the holdup could be.  When they come in we will do our best to expedite the online process.”  Following up with other members of the CRIV committee, it appears that the print versions of the C.F.R. have also not arrived in many libraries.  While the Government Publishing Office’s Electronic C.F.R. (eCFR) is up to date, this remains the unofficial version of the code.  Therefore as of this writing, the most current official versions of the over half the C.F.R. Titles remain over a year out of date.

Additionally another anomaly, specifically the January 2019 List of C.F.R. Sections Affected referring to Titles 42-50 updates in the Federal Register dating back to October 1, 2017 (rather than October 1, 2018), makes it appear that the Government Publishing Office is delayed in either publishing or shipping the most current C.F.R. volumes, creating a rather vast gap in federal regulatory information for the public.  While the Federal Register is up to date on govinfo, and current regulations may be found therein, the fact remains that the C.F.R., the official source for federal regulations, is unaccountably out of date.  As stated in the response from govinfo, even divisions of the GPO don’t fully understand the delay, and I have been unable to find any news which would explain further.  One possible explanation is the December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019 federal government shutdown, but this is simply a guess without more information to support a conclusion.

If you have any information about the delay in the C.F.R. publications (either print or on govinfo) please reach out to myself (mtimko@niu.edu) or another member of CRIV.  Govinfo remains a tremendous resource for attorneys, information professionals, and the public at large, and providing the most current information is integral for the public’s access to information.

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