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Committee Reports & Transcripts
Another important component of a statute's legislative history are committee hearing transcripts & Reports.Experts and interested parties often testify in bill hearings before committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate. Please note that hearings are not held for every bill.
The Committee then generates a report for the larger House or Senate at large, summarizing the testimony and providing the Committee's reasons for recommending approval or other action on the bill. Although the hearings are open to the public, transcripts of these proceedings are not widely available and the committee reports are even more difficult to locate. However, the resources below may offer some limited information.
- View committee votes, lists of legislation still before a particular standing committee and occasionally hearing transcripts here
- Contact the Senate Law Library which maintains records of legislative committee meetings
- Calendar of upcoming committee meetings
- Search database of available House transcripts and committee reports here. Some have audio recordings available as well.
- By Committee Name view committee votes, lists of legislation still before a particular standing committee and occasionally hearing transcripts here
- Calendar of upcoming committee meetings
- Historical House committee information can be found here
A Note About Compiled Histories
Unless you have a specific legislative history document in mind, save yourself some time and look for a compiled legislative history for your statute first before following the steps below (see the Compiled Histories tab for guidance). The Other Resources tab contains links to books on Pennsylvania legal research which feature chapters on legislative history and can be particularly useful for locating pre-1963 statutory information.
Step 1: Locate Statute
Step 1: Locate the proper title and code section of the law you are researching in Purdon's Consolidated Statutes or Statutes Annotated either in Print or on Westlaw using either the popular name table or the subject index.
Step 2: Find Laws of Pennsylvania Citation
Step 2: Note the following information at the end of the statutory code section: Date the law was passed, the page number in the Laws of Pennsylvania and the act number
Citation will look like this: 1989, July 10, P.L. 291, No. 50
- 1989, July 10 = Date passed
- P.L. = Pamphlet Law (slip law)
- 291 = Page number in Laws of Pennsylvania
- No. 50 = Act Number
Step 3: Use Laws of Pennsylvania Citation to Find Act
Step 3: Using the date and page number, locate the correct act in the Laws of Pennsylvania.
- Note its house or senate bill number, which were included beginning in 1965.
- Print: Third Floor (KFP25 . A23) (1700 - most recent calendar year)
- PA General Assembly site (as Session Laws) For more recent legislation, trying browsing the Pamphlet Laws section by year.
Step 4: Locate a Bill History (Debates)
Step 4: Use the bill number and congressional session date to locate a bill history
The histories of the bills are arranged in bill number order. You will find citations to legislative discussion, if the bill was discussed. See "remarks" or "debate" for the date or page number where floor discussion is reported in either the House Legislative Journal or Senate Legislative Journal.
- History of House Bills and Resolutions (1965 - 1994), Third Floor (KFP15. P46)
- History of Senate Bills and Resolutions (1965 - 1996), Third Floor (KFP15. P46)
- Combined History of Senate and House Bills (1995 - 1998) Third Floor (KFP15 .P46)
Bills and Amendments (PA General Assembly) This link opens in a new window
Search for bills by session and bill number then look for the History link on the bills' Bill Information page.
Pennsylvania Legislative History: Bill Analysis & Other Reports This link opens in a new window
Search Pennsylvania bill analysis by keyword, citation, sponsor, date, title, topic and keyword. 1999 to present.
PA Bill Tracking Reports This link opens in a new window
Contains a summary and chronological of all legislation from 1989 to present session of PA General Assembly. Search by title, citation, bill activity status, session (year), specific date or range, sponsor or keyword search.
Step 5: Locate House or Senate Journal Entries (Voting Records & Transcripts of Floor Action)
Step 5: Use the citations to the House or Senate Journals found in Step 4 to locate the appropriate journal. Prior to 1965 you must use the indexes in the journals themselves for references to "remarks".
- [House] Legislative Journal, (1963 - present) Third Floor (KFP18. P46)
- [Senate] Legislative Journal, (1963 - 2005) Third Floor (KFP19 .P46)
- Legislative Journal [House & Senate combined] (1911- 1961) Compact Shelving-Basement (KFP18 .P45)
- Legislative Record [House and Senate] (1866 - 1907) Compact Shelving-Basement (KFP18 .P45)
Pennsylvania House Journals (General Assembly) This link opens in a new window
Select session and then search by page number, view the index for that session or browse by date to view the transcript of floor actions during that session. Coverage: 1935 Regular Session through current session.
Pennsylvania Senate Journals (General Assembly) This link opens in a new window
Select legislative session and then browse by date to view transcripts of floor actions from that session. Coverage: 1949 Regular Session to current session.
Pennsylvania Legislative History: Journals This link opens in a new window
View transcripts of PA General Assembly floor actions in the House or Senate journals. Search by date, citation, sponsor, title, topic or keyword. Coverage: House journals October 2003 to current session; Senate journals 1999 to current session.
PA State Voting Record This link opens in a new window
Voting records only, not text of the journals. Does organize votes by political affiliation and provides individual voting records. Search by session, citation, date or keyword. Coverage: no dates given but is updated daily when legislature in session
Step 6: Locate Full Text of Original Bill & Subsequent Versions
Step 6: Locate the full text of the House or Senate bill to track changes
- PA General Assembly Electronic Bill Room (1961 session onward)
- Also, set up alerts to be notified about legislative activity on a piece of legislation, daily updates on all legislation, or the actions of a particular committee here
- Lexis Advance: (historic bills and bill tracking available from 1991)
- Westlaw: (historic bill tracking available from 1988)