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Pennsylvania Administrative Law Research: PA Administrative Law Research Process

This guide reviews the basic process of Pennsylvania administrative law research. It discusses the primary resources that are involved in Pennsylvania administrative law research, and provides a step-by-step guide to the process.

Conducting Pennsylvania Administrative Regulation Research

In order to find the current and operative version of a Pennsylvania regulation, follow these steps:

Step 1: Search the Pennsylvania Code for relevant regulations. All electronic versions of the Code allow researchers to browse the table of contents and perform keyword searchers. Researchers can also browse the print version of the Pennsylvania Code. The print version of the Code no longer includes an index.

Step 2: Note the currency date of your version of the Pennsylvania Code. This information is posted on the first page of the www.pacodeandbulletin.gov Web site, and within each section of the the subscription databases.

Step 3: If any issues of the Pennsylvania Bulletin have been published since the currency date of the Code that you are using, check those issues to see if they include any information relevant to your research interests. If a final regulation has been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, it is considered valid law regardless whether it has yet been incorporated into the Pennsylvania Code.

Step 4: Look up the regulation in a subscription database to see if there have been any significant court rulings regarding it. If a court has overturned the regulation or interpreted it narrowly, there will be a red or yellow flag to indicate this. The subscription databases will also flag a regulation if a proposed amendment is pending.

The above steps will help you find a regulation and confirm that it is still in force. If you are doing in-depth research of a particular regulation (for example, if you want to see public comments that were submitted in response to a proposed regulation, or want to better understand why the agency proposed the regulation), go to the Find a Regulation section of the PA Independent Regulatory Review Commission's website. The IRRC has other documents that are not published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, including Regulatory Analysis Forms, which contain significant information about regulatory intent and agency decisionmaking.