Interested in finding transcripts of Philadelphia City Council sessions or committee hearings? Check out the City Council of Philadelphia's Transcript Room. The Transcript Room contains transcripts of Committee hearings and Council sessions starting in September 1997. Transcripts may include testimony from witnesses, comments, votes and speeches. All transcripts are made available in '.pdf' format, and you can search by fields such as date or keyword.
When looking for transcripts, it may be helpful to determine the dates of the sessions and hearings related to a bill. These dates may be found in the Details of the bill on the City Council's Legislative Information Center. Use the Legislation tab on this site to search for a bill. Need help searching? See our blog, Finding Bills and Resolutions on Philadelphia City Council's Legislative Information Center.
In our example, we are going to search the Legislation tab for Bill 160304 from August 24, 2016, which amended Chapter 15-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Parks and Playgrounds," by adding a new section requiring that all parks or playgrounds owned or controlled by the City be more inclusive, inter-generational and family-friendly.
From our search results, click on the hyperlinked bill number to find more information about the bill.
Once you have selected the bill, you will be able to see the History to follow the action related to our particular bill (the History appears in the Details tab). The image below shows just a portion of the History. The complete History listing all the actions is available here.
Scroll through the history and note any action saying Hearing Held. Note the date the hearing occurred and the relevant Committee. In our example, there was a hearing held on 6/8/2016 before the Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.
Now that we have the date and committee information, select Transcript Room.
From the Transcript Room, you may select to specifically search transcripts of Committee Hearings.
We are going to select Parks and Recreation from the drop-down options for Committee and 6/8/2016 for the Date.
Click on Preview or Download and then do Find in Page for 160304. This transcript repeatedly mentions our bill number and is worth investigating. Included in this transcript are testimony of the Commissioner for Parks and Recreation, the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance and an opening statement by Councilwoman Bass.
What other transcripts are available for our bill? There should also be transcripts of Council sessions. The dates may be obtained by browsing through the History of the bill. For our bill, let's take a look at the session for the day the bill passed. According to the History, the bill passed on 6/16/2016.
Searching the transcripts of Council Sessions for this date gives us one search result.
When we Preview or Download this document and do a Find in Page for our bill number, we can see how Council voted when the bill was passed.
City Council's Legislative Information Center provides content, like these transcripts of Committee hearings and Council sessions, that is a tremendous help to researchers. This site is a great resource for anyone seeking a better understanding of the process the bill went through on its way to becoming an ordinance.
Note: City Council's Legislative Information Center contains unofficial copies of bills, resolutions, minutes, agendas and other City Council documents, and is for information purposes only. If you need an official certified copy of a bill or resolution, or an official copy of any other document available on their website, you must obtain such official copies from the Clerk’s office, Room 402 City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (telephone: (215) 686-3410).