Answered By: Mariah Ford
Last Updated: May 24, 2016     Views: 135

Where can I find the official statutory code for Pennsylvania?

Short answer: The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (unofficial online version here; official print version available in the library). Where official codification has not yet occured, the Laws of Pennsylvania (unofficial online versions here; official print version available in the library; PDFs of official print versions available in HeinOnline).

Long answer: There are currently two versions of codified statutes in Pennsylvania: The Unofficial Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes from WestlawNext; and the state's Official Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. For a long time Purdon's was the only source of codified statutory law in Pennsylvania, although still unofficial. Its full title was Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated. Purdon's was (and still is) a West publication.

The state eventually began adopting Purdon's codification into its own official codification (changing the organizational structure, etc a bit). This official codification is called Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. It is an ongoing effort; not all of the titles that exist in Purdon's have yet been officially codifed. For the titles that have been officially codified, Purdon's has adapted its structure to match the state's official code. If a title has not yet been oficially codified, the only official source of law is the session laws: the Laws of Pennsylvania.

If a title has been officially codified, Purdon's citation to it is Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated. If a title has not yet been officially codified, Purdon's citation is just the original Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated.

Two examples:

1) The state has officially codified Title 22 into the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Purdon's citation to a section in this title is 22 Pa.C.S.A. sec. 501. You can refer to Purdon's for research purposes, but it is not official.

2) The state has not oficially codified Title 21. Purdon's citation to a section in this title is 21 P.S. sec. 1 (the Pa.C.S.A. title 21 is "Reserved" --because it doesn't yet exist). That means that the only official source of the law would be the session laws: the Laws of Pennsylvania. You can use Purdon's annotations to determine which session laws apply. For the example of 21 P.S. sec. 1, looking at the credits section, the official laws would be 1909 P.L. 91 sec. 7, amended by 1925 P.L. 404 sec. 7 (amendatory acts prior to 1990 are not available online).

NOTE: Throughout this, we provide links to the Pennsylvania General Assembly's Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and Laws of Pennsylvania. For many purposes, these online resources, along with Purdon's, should be adequate. However, Pennsylvania has not yet declared their online version to be official. Therefore, if seeking the official official version, you may have to consult print: Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes library record; and print Laws of Pennsylvania library record

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