Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter III. Legal Publication.


§ 2–551. Definitions.

For purposes of this subchapter:

(1) The terms “Mayor,” “Council,” “District,” “agency,” “rule,” “rulemaking,” “person,” “licensing”, “publish,” and “regulation” (except when used in the term “District of Columbia Municipal Regulation”) shall have the meaning provided in § 2-502.

(2) The terms “Commissioner,” “District of Columbia Council,” “Chairman,” “act,” and “District of Columbia courts” shall have the meaning provided in § 1-203.01.

(3) The term “Administrator” means the person appointed by the Mayor to supervise and control the District of Columbia Office of Documents in accordance with § 2-611.

(4) The phrase “D.C. Official Code” means the Code of the District of Columbia laws as provided for in Chapter 3 of Act of July 30, 1947 (61 Stat. 636) and any continuations, supplements, or revisions thereof authorized by act, congressional resolution, or act.

(5)(A) The phrase “document having general applicability and legal effect” means any document issued under lawful authority prescribing a sanction or course of conduct, conferring a right, privilege, authority, or immunity or imposing an obligation, and applicable to the general public, members of a class or persons in a locality, as distinguished from named individuals or organizations.

(B) The phrase “document having general applicability and legal effect” does not include any act to be codified in the District of Columbia Code or a personnel manual or internal staff directive solely applicable to employees or agents of the District of Columbia, or any statement for guiding, directing or otherwise regulating vehicular or pedestrian traffic, including any statement controlling parking, standing, stopping or a construction detour; provided, that:

(i) The contents of the statement are indicated to the public on one or more signs, signals, meters, markings or other similar devices located on or adjacent to a street, avenue, road, highway or other public space;

(ii) The proposed installation, modification or removal of the statement is based on engineering or other technical considerations;

(iii) The proposed installation, modification or removal of the statement does not involve substantial policy considerations; and

(iv) The Council and the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (“ANC”) are provided with 30 days' written notice, or 10 days' written notice if the District Department of Transportation has published brief reasoning on its website describing how the proposed installation, modification, or removal will increase safety at a location identified as a high risk intersection or corridor in the Multimodal Long-Range Transportation Plan, via electronic delivery, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, of an agency’s intent to install, modify or remove any of these statements, and any ANC recommendation, if provided, is given great weight pursuant to § 1-309.10; provided, that the Council and the affected ANC may elect to receive written notice by means other than electronic delivery by notifying the Mayor of that preference.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 301; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-249, § 3, 48 DCR 662; Apr. 7, 2006, D.C. Law 16-91, § 134, 52 DCR 10637; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 1083(a), 57 DCR 6242; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 6122, 62 DCR 10905; Dec. 23, 2020, D.C. Law 23-158, § 2(b), 67 DCR 13057.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1531.

1973 Ed., § 1-1531.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-249, in par. (5), designated the first sentence as subpar. (A), and added subpar. (B).

D.C. Law 16-91, in subpar. (5)(A), deleted the sentence which had read as follows: “The phrase ‘document having general applicability and legal effect’ does not include any act to be codified in the D.C. Official Code or a personnel manual or internal staff directive solely applicable to employees or agents of the District of Columbia.”

D.C. Law 18-223, in par. (1), substituted “licensing”, “publish,” for “licensing,”.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36, in (5)(B)(iv), substituted “30-days notice via electronic delivery” for “30-days written notice” and added “provided, that the Council and the affected ANC may elect to receive written notice by means other than electronic delivery by notifying the Mayor of that preference.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1083(a) of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 6122 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).


§ 2–552. District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(a) The District of Columbia Office of Documents, established pursuant to § 2-611, shall supervise, manage, and direct the preparation, editing, publishing, and supplementation of an official legal compilation entitled the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR). The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations shall be published in a manner to promote efficient public access to all current District of Columbia rules and regulations.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, the following documents shall be accurately compiled in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations:

(1) Every rule, regulation, and document having general applicability and legal effect adopted by the Commissioner, the Mayor, the District of Columbia Council, and each agency;

(2) Every act of the Council which is not codified or to be codified in the D.C. Official Code and which is not enacted in emergency circumstances as provided in § 1-204.12;

(3) Every rule, regulation, and document having general applicability and legal effect which is adopted under authority of law by a board, commission, or instrumentality of the District of Columbia: Provided, that nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to apply to the District of Columbia courts; and

(4) Any document which the Council by resolution finds to be a document having general applicability and legal effect and which the Council by resolution orders to be printed.

(c) The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations shall contain the entire text of each document to be compiled under this section without any incorporation by reference unless:

(1) The publication of the document would be impractical due to its unusual lengthiness;

(2) The document is not itself a rule, regulation, or document having general applicability and legal effect but is incorporated by reference in a rule, regulation, or document having general applicability and legal effect;

(3) A copy of the document incorporated by reference is available to the public at every public library branch in the District of Columbia and at the relevant agency headquarters; and

(4) The incorporation by reference includes a specific indication of how and where a copy of such document may be inspected and obtained.

(d) The Administrator shall ensure that the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations shall contain the following research aids:

(1) A citation or historical note to the original rule or act from which each section in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations was derived;

(2) A reference to where the original form of each rule, act, or document contained in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations can be inspected or copied;

(3) Parallel reference tables indexing the sections of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations to enabling legislation and other provisions of law which the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations implements;

(4) Major parts organized according to subject-matter headings with subdivisions thereof organized according to government agency titles; and

(5) A comprehensive index relating sections of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations to subject-matter topics and to the organizational units of government.

(e) The Administrator may prepare (or procure by contract in accordance with applicable law) and include in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations annotations of judicial decisions, and other explanatory material relating to any document published in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(f) Each complete edition of the entire District of Columbia Municipal Regulations may be published in segments if it is deemed to be expeditious in the judgment of the Administrator.

(g) All documents compiled in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations shall be formulated in accordance with the requirements of § 2-632.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 302; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Sept. 29, 2006, D.C. Law 16-169, § 5(a), 53 DCR 6223.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1532.

1973 Ed., § 1-1532.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-1451.11 and § 8-231.18.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-169 adds subsec. (g).


§ 2–553. District of Columbia Register.

(a) The District of Columbia Office of Documents shall also supervise, manage, and direct the preparation, editing, and publishing of the District of Columbia Register which shall serve as the only official legal bulletin in the District of Columbia government and the temporary supplement of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(b) The District of Columbia Register shall contain the entire text of the following:

(1) Every rule, regulation, and document having general applicability and legal effect required to be but not yet published and integrated in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations as provided in this subchapter;

(2) Every notice of public hearing issued by an agency;

(3) Every notice of proposed agency rulemaking or repeal and every other document required to be published under this chapter; and

(4) Every act, resolution, and notice of the Council and any other document requested to be published by the Chairman of the Council or his or her designee.

(c) The Administrator is authorized to publish in the District of Columbia Register:

(1) Any document requested to be published by the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration in the District of Columbia;

(2) Information on changes in the organization of the District of Columbia government;

(3) Notices of public hearings not published under authority of subsection (b) of this section; and

(4) Such other matters as the Mayor may from time to time determine to be of general public interest.

(d) The Administrator may exercise the discretion of omitting from the District of Columbia Register the publication of the entire text of a document if:

(1) Such publication would be unduly cumbersome or expensive; and

(2) If, in lieu of such publication, there is included in the District of Columbia Register a notice stating the general subject matter of any document so omitted and the specific manner in which a copy of such document may be obtained.

(e) If the text of an adopted act or rule is the same as the text of the previously published proposed act or rule, the Administrator may insert in the District of Columbia Register a notation to this effect, giving the publication date of and citation to the District of Columbia Register issue containing the proposed act or rule.

(f) If, after a proposed rule has been published initially in the District of Columbia Register, an agency decides to alter the initial text so that the proposed rule is substantially different from the initial text, the agency shall submit the altered text as though for initial publication. The alterations shall be indicated by the use of symbols determined by the Administrator.

(g) The District of Columbia Register shall be published on at least each Friday, or, if Friday is a legal holiday, on the next working day. Each year the Administrator shall publish a cumulative index of all matters published in the District of Columbia Register during the year.

(h) Each issue of the District of Columbia Register shall be published on the issue date, which shall appear on the 1st page of the issue. If for any reason the issue is published after the issue date that appears on the District of Columbia Register, a notice stating the actual date of publication shall be separately published and attached to each issue. All time computations based upon publication in the District of Columbia Register shall commence from the later of the issue date and the actual date of publication.

(i) All documents published in the District of Columbia Register shall be formulated in accordance with the requirements of § 2-632.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 303; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Sept. 29, 2006, D.C. Law 16-169, § 5(b), 53 DCR 6223; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 1083(b), 57 DCR 6242.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1533.

1973 Ed., § 1-1533.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-169 adds subsec. (i).

D.C. Law 18-223, in subsec. (g), deleted ’quarterly“ following ”shall publish“; and rewrote subsec. (h), which had read as follows: ”(h) On each document published in the District of Columbia Register there shall appear the date upon which such document was filed with the Administrator pursuant to § 2-554. On each issue of the District of Columbia Register there shall appear on its cover the actual date such issue was generally circulated to the public for review and comment: Provided, that should the District of Columbia Register be generally circulated after the cover date shown, a notice stating the correct date shall be attached thereto. All time computations based upon publication in the District of Columbia Register shall commence from the cover date, or, if corrected, the date of notice thereof. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to any and all supplemental editions to the District of Columbia Register.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1083(b) of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).


§ 2–554. Documents to be filed in the District of Columbia Office of Documents.

Any document required or authorized to be published in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations or the District of Columbia Register shall be filed with the District of Columbia Office of Documents. If a document has been published pursuant to subchapter I of this chapter and forwarded to the Office of the Secretariat prior to March 6, 1979, such document need not be filed with the District of Columbia Office of Documents, unless the Administrator otherwise notifies the person responsible for filing the document.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 304; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1534.

1973 Ed., § 1-1534.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-556.


§ 2–555. Permanent supplements to the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(a) The Mayor shall:

(1) Make available, by May 1, 2001, a complete and current version of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (“DCMR”), with all sections compiled by subject matter, and an index to the sections;

(2) Publish, no later than 60 days after the beginning of each fiscal year, a cumulative supplement to the DCMR containing all newly promulgated DCMR provisions as of the first of the fiscal year;

(3) Provide a summary statement at the beginning of all newly promulgated regulations;

(4) Make available through the Internet, by January 1, 2002, an electronic version of the official text of the DCMR, with all sections compiled by subject matter, and an index to the sections, integrating all newly promulgated DCMR provisions since the last version; and

(5) Update the electronic version of the official text of the DCMR prior to the effective date of any newly promulgated DCMR provisions, integrating the newly promulgated DCMR provisions since the last version.

(b) The Mayor may enter into an agreement with private contractors of database services to offer the DCMR in an electronic version.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 305; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-232, § 2, 48 DCR 582.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1535.

1973 Ed., § 1-1535.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-232 rewrote the section which prior thereto read:

“At least once each year, every document required to be compiled pursuant to § 2-552 shall be permanently integrated into the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations by publication of loose-leaf pages or other appropriate permanent supplements of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations. The index of the DCMR shall be similarly supplemented or reissued.”


§ 2–556. Documents to be filed with Administrator.

Except as provided in § 2-554, 2 copies of any document to be published pursuant to this subchapter shall be filed with the Administrator. The Administrator shall immediately review filed documents to determine their conformity to the provisions of this subchapter and to editorial standards promulgated by the Administrator. Upon the Administrator’s determination of a document’s conformity with this section, 1 copy of each document shall be prepared for publication and 1 copy kept for permanent historic preservation.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 306; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1536.

1973 Ed., § 1-1536.


§ 2–557. Publication, specifications, and distribution of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(a) The District of Columbia Municipal Regulations and its permanent supplements shall be published pursuant to typographical and contractual arrangements which ensure that the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations can be purchased at a reasonable cost in its entirety or in portions of related rules, regulations, or documents having general applicability and legal effect.

(b) Paper copies of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations shall be printed by each regular branch of the District of Columbia Public Library system and each regular branch shall make a paper copy of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations available to the public.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 307; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 1083(c), 57 DCR 6242.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1537.

1973 Ed., § 1-1537.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-223 rewrote subsec. (b), which had read as follows: “(b) Copies of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations shall be available to the public at each regular branch of the District of Columbia library system and to each Advisory Neighborhood Commission established by the Council.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1083(c) of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).


§ 2–558. Legal effectiveness of documents.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, any rule, regulation, or document having general applicability and legal effect which has been adopted or enacted by the Commissioner, the Mayor, the District of Columbia Council, an agency, or other instrumentality of the District before March 6, 1979, and which is not published in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations on or before June 30, 1984, shall not be in effect thereafter.

(b) Except in the case of emergency rules or acts, no rule or document of general applicability and legal effect adopted or enacted on or after March 6, 1979, shall become effective until after its publication in the District of Columbia Register, nor shall such rule or document of general applicability and legal effect become effective if it is required by law, other than subchapter I of this chapter or this subchapter, to be otherwise published, until such rule or document of general applicability and legal effect is also published as required by such law.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 308; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; July 1, 1980, D.C. Law 3-75, § 2, 27 DCR 2277; Oct. 17, 1981, D.C. Law 4-41, § 2, 28 DCR 3423; May 20, 1983, D.C. Law 5-10, § 2, 30 DCR 1793; Aug. 2, 1983, D.C. Law 5-22, § 2, 30 DCR 3337.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1538.

1973 Ed., § 1-1538.

Editor's Notes

Publication requirement exemption: Section 5 of D.C. Law 16-300 provided: “Notwithstanding section 8 of this act and sections 204 and 308(b) of the District of Columbia Administrative Procedure Act, effective March 6, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-153; D.C. Official Code §§ 2-602 and 2-558(b)), the text, maps, and graphics of the District elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, as amended by this act, need not be published in the District of Columbia Register to become effective.”


§ 2–559. Correction of errors in documents.

The Administrator of the District of Columbia Office of Documents shall correct grammatical or typographical errors in the publication of the text of a document in the District of Columbia Statutes-at-Large, the District of Columbia Register or the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations by the publication of an errata list or by publication of the entire document or the affected part of the document in its corrected form so as to indicate the actual corrections which were made.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 309; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Sept. 24, 2010, D.C. Law 18-223, § 1083(d), 57 DCR 6242.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1539.

1973 Ed., § 1-1539.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-223 substituted “publication” for “printing”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1083(d) of Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-463, July 2, 2010, 57 DCR 6542).


§ 2–560. Certification.

Each part of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, each permanent supplement of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, and the District of Columbia Register shall contain a certificate by the Administrator stating that such part contains all documents required to be published pursuant to this subchapter as of the date of such certificate.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 310; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960; Sept. 20, 2012, D.C. Law 19-168, § 1113, 59 DCR 8025.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1540.

1973 Ed., § 1-1539.1.

Effect of Amendments

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-168 deleted “the District of Columbia Statutes-at-Large” following “Each part of.”


§ 2–561. Presumption created by publication.

The publication of any document in the District of Columbia Statutes-at-Large, the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, or the District of Columbia Register creates a rebuttable presumption:

(1) That it was duly issued, prescribed, adopted, or enacted; and

(2) That all requirements of this subchapter have been complied with.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 311; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1541.

1973 Ed., § 1-1539.2.


§ 2–562. Penalties.

Any person who knowingly and willfully causes any document not to be published in the District of Columbia Statutes-at-Large, the District of Columbia Register, or the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations which is required to be so published pursuant to this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $100, or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both.


(Oct. 21, 1968, Pub. L. 90-614, title III, § 312; as added Mar. 6, 1979, D.C. Law 2-153, § 4, 25 DCR 6960.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-1542.

1973 Ed., § 1-1539.3.