The Record - March 1998

Federal Register Reinvents Public Law Electronic Notification Service

On January 5, the Office of the Federal Register inaugurated its improved service for informing customers of newly enacted Public Laws. The Public Law Electronic Notification Service (PENS) provides free e-mail notification through the mail list services of the General Services Administration, Center for Electronic Messaging Technologies.

The Federal Register is responsible for receiving and processing laws signed by the President and for assigning new Public Law numbers. Because of the high demand for this information, the Federal Register has maintained a taped telephone message service listing new Public Laws for callers.

But the Federal Register was looking for a proactive means to notify customers and PENS was the answer. Begun in August 1997, PENS initially used the Government Printing Office's e-mail system to post announcements and process more than 600 subscriptions. The capabilities of that system were quickly overwhelmed as the volume increased to more than 245 monthly subscriptions.

To provide customers with better, faster and more reliable service, the Office of the Federal Register established a new partnership with GSA to process and maintain subscription requests and to post new announcements. NARA staff may begin receiving notification of newly enacted Public Laws for the second session of the 105th Congress by sending an e-mail to LISTPROC@ETC.FED.GOV with the message: Subscribe Publaws-L (your) Firstname Lastname.