Title 44, Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR)
The majority of regulations specific to FEMA are located in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), volume 44 “Emergency Management and Assistance.” FEMA’s regulations govern specific agency programs and practice, and have the force and effect of law. The CFR is updated daily at www.ecfr.gov.
The Federal Register
The Federal Register (FR) is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and presidential documents.
There’s a difference between the CFR and the FR. The FR announces ongoing activities of agencies and notifies you when you can comment on a proposed regulation. Once a final decision is issued in the form of a final regulation, the regulation is then codified when it is incorporated into the CFR.
The FR is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, at this link: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR.
Participate in the Rulemaking Process
You have an opportunity to provide input on almost every FEMA regulation before it is finalized. Here are ways that you can track them and be involved:
This multi-agency website serves as an online clearing house for materials related to FEMA rulemakings and is FEMA’s official on-line comment system. The website allows the public to comment on regulations and access rules that FEMA has published in the Federal Register as well as related documents.
FEMA welcomes public comments on its proposed regulatory actions. The public may comment on any posted document with an “Open Comment Period.” Not all comment periods are the same length, so please keep an eye on your topics of interest.
Public comments in rulemaking can be as brief as one line, or contain long technical comments. Please keep in mind that, providing a position without explanation in a comment, or a conflicting argument that does not include any data or verification, may be less influential to the agency in its ultimate decision-making.
To find documents seeking comments, search for FEMA (in all CAPS), or search for any other agency or topic, in the large box at the top of the main Regulations.gov webpage. From the initial “Search Results,” find the documents currently open for your comments by checking the “Open” box in the top of the left column under “Comment Period.”
- Regulatory Agenda and Regulatory Plan
Twice each year, in the spring and fall, the Administration publishes a Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Unified Agenda) on www.RegInfo.gov. Once each year, in the fall, the Administration includes the Regulatory Plan for each agency as a subset of the Unified Agenda.
FEMA’s Regulatory Plan describes the most important regulations that we reasonably expect to issue in proposed or final form during the upcoming fiscal year. These are the regulatory actions that embody the core of our regulatory priorities. FEMA’s Unified Agenda describes a broader universe of regulatory activities under development or review.
As noted, the Unified Agenda is published twice a year. The fall version includes the Regulatory Plan and is typically released between October through December. The spring version generally is published sometime in April through June. Many other federal agencies produce agendas and plans. The General Services Administration’s Regulatory Information Service Center (RISC) compiles all of them into the Unified Agenda which is published on www.reginfo.gov.
To find the Unified Agenda regulatory actions relevant to FEMA:
- Visit the RegInfo.gov Current Unified Agenda webpage.
- Scroll down the main page to the drop-down bar for Active Regulatory Actions Listed by Agency.
- Select Department of Homeland Security from the drop-down list.
- When the results appear, look for FEMA’s listed regulatory actions.
Petitions for Rulemaking
You may submit a petition to the FEMA Administrator for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule. To submit a petition, mail it to the following address:
Regulatory Affairs Division
Office of Chief Counsel, 8NE
500 C St. SW
Washington, DC 20472
Label the petition “Petition for Rulemaking” or “Rulemaking Petition” and set forth the substance of the rule or amendment you are proposing, or specify the rule you are seeking to have repealed or amended. Explain your interest in support of the action you seek, and include all data and arguments available in support of the action you seek.
More Information About Rulemaking
For a detailed explanation of all the steps in the rulemaking process, please see A Guide to the Rulemaking Process, by the Office of the Federal Register.
General information for the public about regulations and the rulemaking process is available on the RegInfo.gov Frequently Asked Questions page.