Research guides

Pennsylvania Legislative History

Online Example

Pennsylvania legislative histories can only be completed fully online for acts passed after 1975 (for amendatory acts, only after 1990).

For this example, we will be compiling the legislative history to the Congressional Redistricting Act of 2002.

25 P.S. 3595.301 is the statute for "Elections & Electoral Districts: Congressional Districts". This is where we will start to conduct our Pennsylvania legislative history.

See the Key Resources page of this guide for a list of resources needed to complete a Pennsylvania legislative history. The years covered by each source are also included.

Step 1: Identify the Act

The act number can usually be found at the end of the Pennsylvania Statute section.

  1. Locate the specific statute section.
    1. Locate the act information listed in the statute's legislative source.
            • In the Unofficial Pennsylvania Statutes from Westlaw, the legislative source information is located below the text of the statute as "Credits".
      1. If the legislative source includes multiple acts, determine which act or acts are of interest.
              • For this example there is only one act listed in the legislative source: "2002, April 18, P.L. 248, No. 34, § 301, effective Nov. 6, 2002".
        1. From the selected act(s), determine the date(s) and act number(s).
              • 2002, April 18 = date the act was approved by the governor
              • P.L. 248 = the pamphlet law number, which refers to the page the act starts on in the Laws of the General Assembly
              • No. 34 = the act number
              • § 301 = the specific section of the act the statute refers to

        By following these steps, we see that Act No. 34 of 2002 is the legislative source to 25 P.S. 3595.301.

Step 2: Locate Bill No.

Use the act number to find the bill number.

Using the Pennsylvania General Assembly's website (1975-present):

  1. Go to the Pennsylvania General Assembly's Acts on General Legislation Approved webpage.
  2. Click on the desired year.
        • For this example, click on 2002.
  1. Scroll down to find the desired act number.
        • Next to Act No. 34 is "Apr 18 HB 2545 Congressional Redistricting Act of 2002 - enactment (effective IMMEDIATELY WITH EXCEPTIONS)".

Using the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau's website:

  1. Start on the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau's Pamphlet Laws webpage (1802-1806, 1960, 1963 - 2009).
  2. Click on the desired year.
        • For this example, click on 2002. Then click on the page 1 for "General Laws".
  1. Scroll down to find the desired act number. Click on the "subject" of the act.
        • The "subject" for this act is "Congressional Redistricting Act of 2002 - enactment". This will download the PDF of the act as it is in the Laws of Pennsylvania. Bill number HB 2545 is located before the text of the act.

The bill number to Act No. 34 of 2002 is HB 2545.

Step 3: Bill History

Use the bill number to find the act's history entry.

  1. From the bill number found using the Pennsylvania General Assembly's website, click on the hypertext link to "HB 2545". This will lead you to the Bill Information page.
  2. Underneath the "Bill Information" header, there are three hypertext links. Click on the middle "History" link to see the full legislative path of HB 2545.

The "History" section of the "Bill Information" page for HB 2545 of 2002 is here.

Step 4: Remarks & Debate

Use the act's history entry to find remarks and/or debate.

  1. Read through the history entry and look for anything that says remarks or debate. HB 2545 has remarks listed 3 times:
        • House Journal page 639-662, April 15, 2002
        • Senate Journal page 1647-1654, April 17, 2002
        • House Journal page 706-711, April 17, 2002
  1. Find the corresponding pages in the House and/or Senate Journal(s).
        • In this case, every time there are remarks, the House or Senate Journal page is linked in. Click on the links to view the relevant pages.
  1. Check pages adjacent to linked entries for relevance.

Finish

Jenkins' members can see the completed Pennsylvania Legislative History for 2002 - Act # 34, P.L. 248, HB 2545 by logging into our Pennsylvania Legislative Histories Database.