Pa. House votes to post state statutes in cyberspaceLink
The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania would become the 50th state to make its statutes available over the Internet for free under a bill that passed the House unanimously on Wednesday.
Pennsylvania is the only state that currently does not maintain a public Web site that gives people the power to do their own legal research without purchasing legal textbooks or visiting a law library.
"If ever there was a good first bill, this is it," said Rep. Lisa Bennington, D-Allegheny [County], a freshman who was the prime sponsor. "We need to have greater transparency in government and in our laws."
The state's 79 groups of statutes, from Aeronautics to Zoning, are currently assembled in the 107-volume "Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated," with two centuries of cross-references, footnotes and commentary. Purdon's is owned by the St. Paul, Minn.-based West Group, the country's largest legal publisher.
The Legislature began assembling its own consolidated statutes in 1970, but the project remains largely unfinished and what has been completed is not being posted on the Web. Bennington said she also is interested in jump-starting that process.
The bill was sent to the Senate for its consideration.
The legislation is House Bill No. 976.