Regulations issued by Georgia governmental agencies have the force of law. The legislation creating an agency often authorizes that agency to make regulations for a range of purposes. Typically the regulations implement the mandates of legislation, providing specifics on how outcomes are to be achieved. State regulations may be authorized by state statutes or by federal statutes and regulations. All Georgia agencies must abide by the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act, which sets forth requirements to be met before a regulation can take effect. Whenever state regulations are challenged, the state attorney general is the final arbiter of their legality.
The office of the Georgia secretary of state is required by state statute to compile and publish the regulations, also called rules, of all state agencies in Georgia. These are available online. Web users may search by keyword or rule number, or may go directly to the “chapter” that contains the rules of the desired regulatory agency. Within each chapter, rules are subdivided into topics and then into specific rules. For example, chapter 391 contains the rules of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; 391-4 contains rules relating to game and fish, 391-4-3 contains fishing regulations, and 391-4-3-.03 is a specific rule about seasons and trout water designations. Each rule ends with information about the specific statutory authority to enact it and a brief history of the rule.