In Maryland one is required by law to register. I didn't register in the spring and one day early this summer an application just showed up in the mail. Fortunately, the 2 inspectors who handle most of the state are extremely knowledgable, experienced beekeepers. The state Dept. of Agriculture is also headed by a very capable gentleman (former beekeeper) and they are tied very closely to the research center in Beltsville MD. Generally speaking it's a pretty progressive environment, one that I feel fortunate to be immersed in. Oddly, in Washington DC beekeeping is illegal.