In 1998 the Administrative Law Division converted all paper copies of rules to images indexed to a database. Today, staff can locate in minutes a historical rule -- that is, a rule which is no longer in effect. This information is often needed in court cases, when the outcome may depend on the rule in effect at the time of an event involved in a legal action. Now all rules that are currently in effect, rules that are in the process of being updated, emergency rules and historical rules are all available online.
Staff Assistance by Telephone or E-Mail
If you cannot locate the information you need, call the Administrative Law Division at (304) 558-6000, or write the division at email@example.com and explain what you are seeking. Staff members are knowledgeable about rule-making agencies and can often locate the information immediately.
Warning: History is Messy!
Searching for historical rules can be complicated. Agencies' names have changed. Boards have been split and merged again under a different name. Responsibilities have moved from one agency to another to another and back again. For example, a rule now in the Department of Energy might have been in the Department of Natural Resources years ago. Tracking the history of a rule on a particular subject can take time. You can make it easier by gathering all the details you can in advance. Be sure to specify the date which is important to you, and provide as much information as possible about the agency and subject matter of the rule.
The Secretary of State's Office is often asked to locate extensive historical information for those doing research. While we do not have sufficient staff to perform historical research, we will try to guide you to the correct place to review historical records and locate the information you need.