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Pennsylvania Legislative History : Compiled Histories

Legislative Histories available at the VLS Law Library

Unfortunately compiled histories of state legislation are often harder to locate than histories for federal legislation but there are some available in the Villanova Law Library Catalog.

  • For older statutes, there is a Legislative History Index to the Laws of Pennsylvania, 1977 - 1981 (Third Floor: KFP15.2 1977)


Sometimes it is best to search the library catalog by the subject matter of the statute along with the phrase "legislative history." Many Pennsylvania Bar Institute publications include a chapter on the legislative history of major acts in that area of law. Some examples:

  • Business Corporation Law of 1988, and related statutes, edited by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (1989)
  • Custody law and practice in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Bar Institute (2015)
  • End-of-life decision-making : law, ethics and practice, Pennsylvania Bar Institute (2005) 
  • Interest Expense Deductions, by Dominic L. Daher (2013)
  • A Legislative History : the Development of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, 1982-2013


Or search for the popular name of the act along with the phrase "legislative history"

  • The Legislative History of the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act of 1980 (1982)
  • The Legislative History of the 1980 Pennsylvania Divorce Law (1980)

Law Reviews as a Source of Legislative History

Law Reviews and Bar Journals published in Pennsylvania are often a source for articles about a particular piece of legislation. Many will provide citations to various pieces of the statute's history including reports, senate or house journal entries and other materials. Try searching by the name of the act or by subject matter after narrowing your jurisdiction to Pennsylvania or review databases such as Pennsylvania Law Reviews & Journals on Westlaw or All Pennsylvania Law Reviews and Journals on Lexis. Or access the Law Journal Library on HeinOnline.

Legal newspapers, like the Legal Intelligencer (available on Lexis Advance or on, may also provide citations or other research leads. 

Government Sources

Some Pennsylvania agencies and departments provide limited legislative history information on their websites. Find the agency that administers acts in your subject area of interest and look for links to "legislation & regulations" or "law library" on their webpages. 

Some examples:

Jenkins Law Library

Jenkins Law Library has compiled a number of histories for Pennsylvania acts. Jenkins is a membership library and members receive free access to the legislative histories. 

Law students can join the Jenkins Law Library for $25 per year. Jenkins is also open to non-member "Daily Users" at the cost of $5 per day which includes one hour of computer use to access the Legislative Histories or other Jenkins databases. 

Westlaw/Lexis Resources

On Westlaw, look for the Pennsylvania Legislative History database for links to Bill Analysis, reports, governor messages and journals.

On Lexis Advance, search the Pennsylvania Legislative Bill History database for Bill Analysis, Bill Summaries, Fiscal Notes, Governor's Messages, and Committee Messages.

Interest Groups

Many non-profits and other interest groups compile lists of legislation/legislative history information that impacts a particular subject area. Search by subject or by the popular name of the Act. 

Some Examples: