Compiling a Pennsylvania legislative history is something many attorneys practicing in Pennsylvania may have to do at some point in their legal career. For the most part, preparing a legislative history is a very straight-forward procedure. Knowing some basic facts, along with easy-to-follow instructions, should help attorneys in their pursuit of legislative materials.
This guide should be used as a basic instruction on how to compile a Pennsylvania legislative history. If you have any questions, please contact Research Services at 215.574.1505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legislative history - "the background and events leading to the enactment of a statute, including hearings, committee reports, and floor debates." Black's Law Dictionary 983 (9th ed. 2009). Such history is important to courts when they are required to determine the legislative intent of a particular statute.
Bill - "a legislative proposal offered for debate before its enactment." Black's Law Dictionary 186 (9th ed. 2009).
Act - "the formal product of a legislature or other deliberative body." Black's Law Dictionary 28 (9th ed. 2009). An act is the appropriate term for the bill after it has been enacted by legislature into law.
In Pennsylvania, the primary source for legislative history are debates and remarks on a particular bill, which are published in the Legislative Journals for the House and the Senate. Comments may also be found in the Appendix volumes (not published for every Assembly).
Jenkins does not receive the Committee Reports for the Pennsylvania House or Senate Bills. If you are looking for Committee Reports, you may have to consult the following sources:
These reports can be accessed by date, sponsor, committee, or subject.
Please note, committee reports may not be very substantive and are often limited in scope.
Jenkins does not receive the Committee Hearings for the Pennsylvania House or Senate Bills. If you are looking for Committee Hearings, you may have to consult the following sources:
These hearings can be accessed by date, sponsor, committee, or subject. Committee hearings are usually held on legislation that is controversial or significant.
Please note, many proposals for legislation do not involve any hearings.
In Pennsylvania, hearings are open to the public, and newspapers often publish accounts of these hearings. It may benefit you to do a newspaper search for additional information. For newspaper searching, Jenkins' members have access to NewsBank with their Jenkins' member ID number.
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