Thursday, December 07, 2006

East Texas and the Federal Register

As a Depository Library located in Texas we have a special closeness to one of the seminal government publications: the Federal Register. As this article explains, the Federal Register was established in 1935 when it became clear that the Federal Government needed to provide a single source for executive orders and regulatory codes. The reason that this was so apparent in 1935 was the tremendous growth in executive orders and regulatory pronouncements associated with the New Deal. The point was driven home by a Supreme Court decision involving two Texas oil companies. It appears that two companies in East Texas ran afoul of federal regulations on the transportation of oil and they appealed their case to the Supreme Court. During oral questioning it appears that regulators had to admit that there was a question as to whether or not the specific regulation in question was even in effect at the time of the alleged violation. The confusion convinced lawmakers to establish a uniform publication for regulator information: The Federal Register.