The Office of the Federal Register recently unveiled an Electronic Public Inspection Desk to provide free worldwide electronic access to public documents. Previously, such documents could only be seen by viewing the documents physically located at the Office of the Federal Register in Washington, D.C. Now the documents are available for viewing as soon as they are placed on file.
To view these documents, go to the Federal Register’s website and click on “View Documents on Public Inspection” on the left hand side. This new desk grants the public access to documents that will be published in the next day’s Federal Register as early at 8:45 a.m. EST.
The Office of the Federal Register has always provided for public inspection of documents before publication in the daily Federal Register. Once a document goes on file at the Office of the Federal Register, the public at large is deemed to have legal notice of its contents. But as a practical matter, only a relative handful of people had the means to go to the physical location of the Office of the Federal Register in Washington, DC to monitor daily filings.