Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Pennsylvania - we're number 50!

According to the Associated Press and, Pennsylvania's House today unanimously passed a bill (House Bill 976 (text; pdf)) that would make our PA statutes freely available on the internet. The bill has now gone to the Pennsylvania Senate for consideration. If it passes, we will be the 50th state to put our statutes online. Right now we are the only state that doesn't have an official free website with our statutes, according to the article (see this post about the recent AALL report on the topic for more detailed information).
Rep. Lisa Bennington, D Allegheny County, who was the prime sponsor of the bill, is quoted as saying "If ever there was a good first bill, this is it. We need to have greater transparency in government and in our laws." Rep. Bennington, a Pittsburgher who is a freshman in the legislature, was elected in the "Pennsylvania Earthquake" election of May 2006 when many longterm state politicians were defeated; she defeated longtime Rep. Frank Pistella of Morningside with 58% of the vote. A graduate of Chatham College and Duquesne Law School, she practiced family law with the Pittsburgh firm of Pollock Begg Komar Glasser before her election. When she introduced H.B. 976 in April she announced in a press release that "As we continue to examine ways to foster a more open and transparent government, I believe it is important that we ensure the general public has free online access to our state laws."

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