Research guides

Pennsylvania Constitution

Amendments via Legislative Proposal

"Pennsylvania has two recognized methods of proposing amendments, the legislative proposal mechanism, which is detailed in Article XI of the Constitution, and the constitutional convention, which enjoys no textual sanction." The Pennsylvania Constitution: A Treatise on Rights and Liberties § 35.1 (Ken Gormley et al, eds., 2004).

Article XI of the Pennsylvania Constitution discusses one process by which the Constitution can be amended: the legislative proposal. The procedure, which was first adopted with the 1838 Pennsylvania Constitution, "essentially require[s] that a proposed amendment be approved by two successive General Assemblies and then ratified by the voters." The Pennsylvania Constitution: A Treatise on Rights and Liberties § 35.3 (Ken Gormley et al, eds., 2004).

This page focuses on finding constitutional amendments that arose by by legislative proposal. For amendments that arose via a constitutional convention, see the Convention pages of this guide.

Finding Legislative Amendments

Use the statutes to find citations to constitutional amendments. Citations to constitutional amendments are often detailed in the Historical Notes of the statutes.

For amendments made via legislative proposal, once the citations to constitutional amendments are found, use the Session Laws to find the text of the amending act. Resources for finding the Session Laws are listed below. For more information about the Session Laws, see the Pennsylvania Session Laws research guide.

Not all proposed amendments are voted into the Constitution. To see a list of all proposed amendments from 1979-2014, including those not added to the Constitution, see Proposed Amendments to the 1968 Constitution from the Duquesne University School of Law PA Constitution site.

Research Tip

The Pennsylvania statutes are found in numerous places, including for free online from the Pennsylvania General Assembly, on the library's LexisWestlaw, and Bloomberg Law computers, and in print. See the Pennsylvania Statutes guide for more information.

Free Online Resources

Pennsylvania Session Law are available for free online from the Pennsylvania General Assembly (begins with 1969). Select older years may be available from the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau.

Acts on the General Assembly Approved Pennsylvania General Assembly
1969 - present. Amendatory acts prior to 1990 are not available.

Constitution (and Amendments)
From the PALRB website, select Pamphlet Laws > Browse > Constitution (and Amendments).
1963 - 2003.

Member Databases

The member database HeinOnline includes access to Pennsylvania Session Laws. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. HeinOnline is also available in the library.

Pennsylvania Session Laws
Available on HeinOnline. From the Session Laws Library, select Pennsylvania.
1700-present. Includes the Pennsylvania Colony (1700-1787).
To find constitutional amendments, look in the index to the specific year for "Constitution".

Print

Jenkins collects the Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1826-present) in print. Our Rare Book Room also includes colonial laws going back to 1700. Please contact Research Services at 215.574.1505 or research@jenkinslaw.org for more information.

Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Library has 1826 - present.
To find constitutional amendments, look in the index to the specific year for "Constitution".