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Pennsylvania Statutory Research: Introduction

This guide reviews the history and current status of the Pennsylvania statutory codification project, and lists electronic and print options for Pennsylvania statutory research.

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The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance on how to research Pennsylvania statutory law. It includes information about:

  • The sources of Pennsylvania statutory law
  • The current status of the Pennsylvania statutory codification project
  • Electronic and print options for accessing Pennsylvania statutes
  • Strategies for searching Pennsylvania statutes

Overview of Pennsylvania Statutory Law Research

Every jurisdiction has a legislature that passes the laws of the jurisdiction. The laws are incorporated into the jurisdiction's statutory code. The statutory code is the compilation of the current laws of a jurisdiction, arranged by subject. As the legislature passes new laws, they are incorporated into the code. Laws repealed by the legislature are removed from the statutory code.

Pennsylvania is in the midst of a statutory recodification project. As a result, Pennsylvania currently has two statutory codes - the Pennsylvania Statutes (also known as Purdon's) and the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Researchers who want to conduct comprehensive Pennsylvania statutory research must search both codes. The electronic and print options for Pennsylvania statutory research include both codes.

This guide will explain why Pennsylvania has two statutory codes, and how researchers can search both codes simultaneously.

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David Haendler