Topics on this page
- Maryland Regulations (COMAR)
- Federal Regulations (CFR)
Regulations are laws made by executive branch agencies. Executive branch agencies have the authority to make laws based on statutes passed by the legislatures. Agencies can only make regulations on the subjects that the statutes say they can. Regulations explain the details necessary to implement laws. Read regulations together with the statutes under which they were made.
Regulations are published in subject arrangements called codes. You can find regulations in print and online.
Maryland regulations are published in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). COMAR is divided into 35 numbered titles. Most state agencies have their own title. However, several smaller independent agencies share a single title (Title 14).
Finding Maryland Regulations with a Citation
A citation will help you find a specific regulation. A citation is a reference to a legal authority (e.g., statutes, regulations, cases). A COMAR citation looks like this: COMAR 10.45.01.02.
- The first number is the "Title" (i.e., Title 10) [COMAR 10.45.01.02].
- The second number is the "Subtitle" (i.e., Subtitle 45) [COMAR 10.45.01.02].
- The third number is the "Chapter" (i.e., Chapter 01) [COMAR 10.45.01.02].
- The fourth number is the "Regulation" (i.e., Regulation 02) [COMAR 10.45.01.02].
Print Research - To look this citation up in the print version of COMAR, look for the volume that says “Title 10” and “Subtitles 45 to end” on its spine. Next, look within that volume for Subtitle 45, then look within Subtitle 45 for Chapter 1, and within Chapter 01 for Regulation 02.
Online Research - Regulations are available online at the Maryland Division of State Documents (DSD) website. See below for information about searching COMAR through the DSD website.
Finding Maryland Regulations Without a Citation
If you don't have a citation, you can search COMAR using keywords or by browsing COMAR's table of contents.
Online Research - The easiest way to explain searching COMAR online is with an example. Suppose you wanted to know how to legally home school your child in Maryland.
If you want to search all of COMAR:
- Start on the DSD COMAR page.
- Select the "Search COMAR Now” link.
- Type in your keywords (e.g., home school), and click on the “Search” button.
- You can then narrow your search by Title (e.g., Title 13A, Maryland State Board of Education)
- Remember, this will only search that specific title for the keywords that you entered.
- Tip: to browse all Titles leave the search filed blank
Print Research - Before you begin your search, it may be helpful to know which agency regulates the area of law you are researching. If you know which agency regulates the law you are interested in, you can limit your search to a specific COMAR title. If you don't know which agency regulates your area of law, try searching the Maryland Manual Online. The Maryland Manual describes each state agency's functions and lists the agency’s major officials.
If you can't figure out which state agency regulates the area of law you are researching, or if there is more than one agency involved, you can search a subject index to the entire COMAR. The Division of State Documents doesn't publish an overall subject index. However, there is a separate, commercially published index called Michie's Index to the Code of Maryland Regulations. There is another separate, commercial publication called the COMAR Deskbook that includes a very basic subject index and several other finding aids. Most libraries that subscribe to COMAR will also subscribe to one or both of these commercial publications. You can use these publications to look for keywords.
Each title and subtitle in COMAR has a table of contents at the very beginning. You can browse the table of contents to see if there are any relevant regulations that you want to review. This can be a very time-consuming process. If you are researching the print COMAR at a library, ask a librarian for help. Searching and updating the print COMAR can be complex.
The Maryland Register
The Maryland Register is a temporary supplement to COMAR published by the Division of State Documents every two weeks. Any change to the text of regulations published in COMAR are first published in the Maryland Register.
Whether you are viewing the regulations online or in print, check the Maryland Register to make sure you are looking at the most updated version of the regulation. The Maryland Register is available online and in print.
Online Research - Only the most recent 6 issues of the Maryland Register is available on the DSD's website. COMAR online is relatively up-to-date, but sometimes it takes a few weeks for the Division of State Documents to post new regulations to the database.
Print Research - Each title of the print edition of COMAR is updated only once a year. A table appearing near the beginning of each Maryland Register issue lists the regulations adopted, repealed, and amended in each COMAR title since that title's last annual update. Review this table to locate any updates.
The regulations for the United States government agencies are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR is available in print at many local libraries or electronically on the internet.
Finding Federal Regulations With a Citation
A citation will help you find a specific regulation. A citation is a reference to a legal authority (e.g., statutes, regulations, cases). A citation to the CFR looks like this: 20 CFR § 416.101.
- The first number is the "Title" (i.e., Title 20) [20 CFR § 416.101].
- The second number is the "Part" (i.e., Part 416) [20 CFR § 416.101].
- The third number is the "Section" (i.e., Section 101) [20 CFR § 416.101].
Print - To look this citation up in the print CFR, look for a volume with “Title 20” and “Parts 400 to 499” on its spine. Then look within the volume for part 416, section 101.
Online - Federal regulations are available online through ecfr.gov. You can browse the site as well as conduct simple and advanced searches. This Search Tips Guide provides detailed instructions.
Finding Federal Regulations Without a Citation
If you know which agency regulates the area of law you are researching, one of the easiest ways to find federal regulations is to look at the website of that agency. You can find a list of federal agencies with links to their websites at USA.gov. Many federal agencies publish their regulations on their websites behind a link called “Laws and Regulations,” or something similar. If you don’t know which federal agency regulates your area of law, you could try searching the U.S. Government Manual. The Manual gives descriptions of federal agencies.
Print Research - The CFR has an index volume organized by subject. To search the index volume, look up keywords related to your problem.
List of CFR Sections Affected and Federal Register
Both the electronic and print versions of the CFR are not always up-to-date. Update the regulations you find using the List of CFR Sections Affected and the Federal Register.
Published by the Office of the Federal Register, the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA) lists proposed, new, and amended Federal regulations that have been published in the Federal Register since the most recent revision date of a CFR title. Each LSA issue is cumulative and contains the CFR part and section numbers, a description of its status (e.g., amended, confirmed, revised), and the Federal Register page number where the changes may be found.
The Federal Register is published every business day by the Office of the Federal Register. The Federal Register contains Federal agency regulations, Proposed Rules and Notices of interest to the public, Executive orders, Proclamations, and other Presidential documents.
Information about how to search and use the LSA and Federal Register is available on their respective websites.