Pennsylvania Code Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Pennsylvania Bulletin?
The Pennsylvania Bulletin is the official gazette of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The publication serves several purposes. It is the temporary supplement to the Pennsylvania Code, which is the official codification of rule, regulations and other statutorily authorized documents. The Governor publishes executive orders, proclamations, and the like. The General Assembly publishes recent actions, committee designations and other notices. The Supreme Court and Rules Committees publish proposed and final amendments to their rules. Courts of common pleas publish orders. Executive and independent agencies publish notices in the Pennsylvania Bulletin covering many topics, including meetings, grants and permits. A cumulative subject matter index is published quarterly.
2. What is the Pennsylvania Code?
The Pennsylvania Code is the official codification of rules and regulations issued by Commonwealth agencies and other statutorily authorized documents. It is comprised of over 40 titles. The Pennsylvania Bulletin is the temporary supplement to the Pennsylvania Code, printing changes following approval by IRRC, the legislative standing committees and the Attorney General. These changes are then permanently codified by the Pennsylvania Code Reporter, a monthly, loose-leaf supplement. Under the Pennsylvania Code codification system, each regulation is assigned a unique number by title and section. Titles roughly parallel the organization of Commonwealth government.
3. How does one access or obtain the Pennsylvania Code or the Pennsylvania Bulletin?
The Pennsylvania Code and the Pennsylvania Bulletin are available in
The Pennsylvania Code and the Pennsylvania Bulletin are available to the
general public in hard copy form and in electronic
form on the World Wide Web: Pennsylvania Code and Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Inquiries should be directed to:
Attn: Pennsylvania Bulletin
800 W. Church Road
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17055-3198
717. 766-0211 ext. 2340
800. 334-1429 ext. 2340 (toll free, out-of-State)
800. 524-3232 ext. 2340 (toll free, in- State)
4. How do the contents of the Pennsylvania Code and the Pennsylvania Bulletin differ from the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes?
The Pennsylvania Code and the Pennsylvania Bulletin print documents from
the executive and judicial branches of State government.
The Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes contain actions of the legislative branch.
5. What is the difference between a rule or regulation (on one hand) and a statute or law or act (on the other hand)?
The General Assembly enacts statutes by passing bills in the Senate and House
of Representatives and sending them to the Governor for approval. Some
statutes give an agency in the executive branch the authority to adopt rules to
further carry out the statute. Armed with this authority, the executive branch
agency adopts rules by following a rulemaking procedure.
6. Generally, how are rules adopted, amended or repealed?
Generally, an agency wishing to adopt, amend or repeal regulations must first
publish in the Pennsylvania Bulletin a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. There
are limited instances where the agency may omit the proposal step; it still must
publish the adopted version. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contains:
- The statutory authority for the proposed action.
- The proposed effective date.
- The full text of the change.
- The agency contact person.
- A fiscal note required by law.
- Background for the action.
The agency then allows sufficient time for public comment and reviews required by statute before taking final action. An adopted proposal must be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin before it can take effect. If an agency wishes to adopt changes to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to enlarge the scope, it must re-propose.
7. Does the General Assembly have a role in rulemaking procedure?
Yes. Standing committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives are
assigned jurisdiction over rulemaking agencies, by subject matter, at the start of
each regular session of the General Assembly. For example, if the Department
of Transportation wants to adopt a rule, the House and Senate Transportation
Committees review it.
Infrequently, standing committees may disapprove a rule which an agency
wishes to adopt. In these rare cases, a standing committee may report a Joint
Resolution, the effect of which, if adopted, is to prevent the agency from
proceeding in its attempt to adopt the rule.
8. In a court of law, will a properly adopted rule have the same effect as a duly enacted statute?
9. May a citizen ask for a change in an agency rule?
Yes. Under 1 Pa.Code Section 35.18 a citizen may submit a petition asking an
agency to amend, delete or change its rules.