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Zimmerman's Research Guide


New York State - Executive Branch - Administrative Code and Regulations

This entry discusses New York State regulations and the New York State Administrative Code (the "NYCRR").

I. New Regulations

Once a New York state agency writes a new regulation, and before the regulation goes into effect, the agency has to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the weekly New York State Register. The notice tells you: the statutory authority for the regulation; the date, time and place of hearings; an impact statement; and who to contact for more information. Sometimes it also prints the regulation; but often not. To get regulations that aren't published, contact the person designated in the notice. The Register is posted free by the New York Department of State starting June 25, 2003; it is searchable starting 2007. The Resister is also available on available on Lexis (NY;NYRGST) from December 1997 and Westlaw from July 2007 (NY-ADR).

There is no state-published counterpart to the Code of Federal Regulations Sections Affected. However, James R. Sahlem, director of the Supreme Court Library at Buffalo, currently compiles NYCRR Sections Affected. Updated twice monthly, it is provided to subscribers electronically, free of charge.

You can track pending regulations "from proposal through adoption" if you subscribe to the State Net. Otherwise, you can (a) check the relevant department's Web site, (b) call the department, (c) check or set Clip or Alert in Westlaw's NY Regulation Tracking database (NY-REGTRK) or its Lexis counterpart (NY;NYRGTR or ;NYRGST), which I think have abstracts of new regulations, (d) search or set a clip in the New York Register database on Westlaw (NY-ADR); and/or (e) call the New York Legislative Service (212-962-2828).

II. Older Regulations

Although I've never had to try, I am told the process of finding regulations (or even Notices of regs) from past years can be maddening. One big problem: The State Register's annual index is organized only by agency, not subject. For an explanation of how to handle this kind of request, see the article by Eric Kaufman on the first page of the March/April 1996 (v.20,n.2) issue of Law Lines and/or the "Administrative Codes, Rules and Regulations" chapter of Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide 3rd by William H. Manz. Alternatively, try the sources listed above to track pending regs, and maybe what you need will turn up.

The Register is searchable free from the State Department back to 2007 and on Westlaw, also back to 2007 (NY-ADR). The register is searchable Lexis back to December 3, 1997 (NY;NYRGST) so, for regs issued between December 1997 and 2007, Lexis is your best bet.

III. Administrative Code (NYCRR)

Shortly after New York regulations go into effect they are codified in the Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of New York, better known as the "NYCRR." West publishes the official NYCRR in print and through Westlaw (NY-ADC).

West also posts a free, unofficial edition of the NYCRR. Other unofficial editions are available on Lexis (NY;NYADMN), LOIS and the New York Legislative Retrieval System (LRS).

You can get copies from the print NYCRR from the library at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York or any New York law school library. Member of the New York Law Institute can get copies of sections for cheap and even borrow volumes.

IMPORTANT: I've been told that the official version of the NYCRR is at least 6 months old. The unofficial versions on Lexis, LOIS and the LRS are somewhat better. To be current, check out the following section on Updating the NYCRR, below.

IV. Updating the NYCRR

To update the NYCRR -

  1. Check for new regulations in the New York State Register, Westlaw's NY Regulation Tracking database (NY-REGTRK) or its Lexis counterpart (NY;NYRGTR), and/or the relevant agency Web site.
  2. Call the relevant agency (strongly recommended).
  3. Call the New York Legislative Service for more information (especially if you don't want to call the agency).

V. Finding Regulations in the NYCRR

In theory, you should be able to find a regulation in the NYCRR using the NYCRR's Index and/or Table of Contents. You can also search language from the reg in the NYCRR on Westlaw (NY-ADC), Lexis (NY;NYCCDE), LOIS or the LRS.

VI. Finding Cases Related to an NYCRR Section

The print version of the NYCRR is annotated, though the annotations are put at the end of the volume. For more complete and current annotations, you can Shepardize NYCRR sections on Lexis (see "Shepardizing"), pull a KeyCite report on Westlaw and/or search the citation in a relevant electronic case database (see "New York State - Judicial Branch").

VII. Historical Editions of the NYCRR

The NYCRR was first published as a looseleaf in 1960. To my knowledge, no one keeps in-tact historical volumes. However, you can search historical editions on Westlaw starting with 2002 (e.g., NY-ADC02), and on Lexis starting with 2004 (e.g., NY;NYAD04).

If you need to go back farther, a few libraries keep the old pages as they are taken out of the volumes (the "take-out" pages). These libraries include: the New York State Library, New York County Lawyers' Association library, Appellate Division Fourth Department Law Library, the Supreme Court Library at Buffalo, the University of Buffalo Law Library. Their document delivery services can make copies for you.

VIII. Codes Not in the NYCRR

New York State has adopted several codes published by the International Code Council that are not included in the NYCRR. These include the Building Code, Residential Code, Fire Code, Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code, Fuel & Gas Code, Property Maintenance, and Energy Conservation Construction Code. Print and electronic editions are available from the International Codes Council. You can also get copies of sections from most of the libraries mentioned in this entry.

IX. More Information

For more information about NY administrative branch materials, see the chapters on New York Administrative Codes, Rules, Regulations, Decisions, Opinions, Rulings and Documents of the Governor in Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide 3rd by William H. Manz, and/or New York State Administrative Procedure and Practice, §§ 10.2 - 10.3, by Patrick J. Borchers & David L. Markell.

See Also
New York State - Constitutional Amendments
New York State - Executive Branch - Agencies and Offices
New York State - Judicial Branch
New York State - Legislative Branch - Bills
New York State - Legislative Branch - Statutes
New York State - Legislative History
New York State - Other Useful Information

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman