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Pennsylvania Code




15.201.    Purpose of amendatory statute.
15.202.    Constitutional limitation.
15.203.    Scope of amendment.
15.204.    Location and nature of provisions amended.
15.205.    Preparation from official law.


15.211.    Form generally.
15.212.    Reference to particular provision.
15.213.    Reference to amended titles.
15.214.    New matter in title.


15.221.    Form generally.
15.222.    Brackets and underscoring.
15.223.    Designation of new provisions.
15.224.    Describing provision amended.
15.225.    Sections of amendatory statute.
15.226.    Pre-1938 enacting clause.
15.227.    Form of first amendatory section.
15.228.    Form of provisions amended.
15.229.    Reenacting penalty clause.


15.241.    Initial search.
15.242.    Conforming multiple amendments.
15.243.    Reference to prior amendments.
15.244.    Grouping provisions previously amended.


§ 15.201. Purpose of amendatory statute.

 The purpose of an amendatory statute is to change some provisions of an existing statute. This may be done either by removing words or provisions, or by adding words or provisions, or by removing some, and at the same time, adding others. All acts of Assembly at one time began in the form of an original act. Some of these that are still in effect date back more than 150 years.

§ 15.202. Constitutional limitation

 The Constitution (art. III, sec. 6) provides that no statute may be revived, amended or the provisions thereof extended or conferred by reference to its title only, but so much thereof as is revived, amended, extended or conferred shall be reenacted and published at length.

§ 15.203. Scope of amendment.

 (a)  General. An amendment may be of only one section, subsection or other minor subdivision, or it may include several sections or parts of an existing statute. It may also reenact and amend the entire statute, including the title. Frequently, an amendment merely adds a section, subsection or other minor subdivision to an existing statute or section thereof without reenacting any of its present language. In all cases, enough of the existing statute must be set out to complete the grammatical sense and to include all that is directly affected by the change which the amendment proposes.

 (b)  Minor subdivisions. Usually the section is the basis for an amendment. It is quite proper to amend a minor subdivision or even a paragraph without distinctive designation, if the paragraph can be identified as the ‘‘first,’’ ‘‘last’’ or other numerical order. In most cases of unlettered and unnumbered paragraphs it is preferable to amend the whole section, and as a part of the amendment divide it into subsections to facilitate future amendments. It is also proper to use other designations if the section is unusually long, such as section 202 of the Administrative Code of 1929, which is often amended ‘‘As much of section 202 as relates to the Department of Public Welfare of the act is amended to read:’’

§ 15.204. Location and nature of provisions amended.

 (a)  General. The parts of a statute or of a section amended need not immediately follow each other. It is proper in one bill to amend sections 1, 4 and 19, as long as it is clearly stated that those are the sections that are amended. It is also proper to amend whole sections and parts of sections or parts of several different sections in the same bill.

 (b)  Chronological order. The sections, subsections and other minor subdivisions of the statute being amended must always be kept in their proper numerical or lettered order. This applies also where sections, subsections or other minor subdivisions are added. They must always be placed in the bill so that the number or letter assigned them will be in proper position with respect to existing sections, subsections or other minor subdivisions that are being amended in the same bill.

 (c)  Additions and repeals. The practice of placing all added sections at the end of the bill is not approved. Likewise, if one or more sections are repealed, the repealing section of the amendatory bill should appear in the proper numerical order of the sections to be repealed.

§ 15.205. Preparation from official law.

 In all cases where language of a present statute is incorporated in an amendment, the language must be copied from and compared with the appropriate volume of the Laws of Pennsylvania so as to make absolutely certain that the copy is exact in all details with the original. If the provision has been previously amended, the language is copied from the Laws of Pennsylvania where it was last amended. The title must always be copied from and compared with the Laws of Pennsylvania so as to minimize the possibility of errors. Where the appropriate volume of the Laws of Pennsylvania has not been published, the slip laws are used.


§ 15.211. Form generally.

 (a)  General. The title to a bill proposing to amend an existing statute begins ‘‘AN ACT Amending the act of’’ followed by a reference to the statute being amended, the word ‘‘entitled’’ and the title of the statute as it appears in the Laws of Pennsylvania or slip law enclosed in quotation marks.

 (b)  Use of short title. Except for amendments to the Consolidated Pennsylvania Statutes, the substitution of the official short title has not been attempted. If the new matter adequately covers the subject of the amendment, it is likely that the short title would be held to be sufficient.

§ 15.212. Reference to particular provision.

 (a)  General. Reference to the sections or other parts of the statute that are being amended should be avoided. Aside from making the title unnecessarily long, it presents another opportunity for inaccuracies and inconsistencies to creep in. Whether it is proposed to amend one or any other number of sections, subsections or other minor subdivisions, the form should be ‘‘AN ACT Amending the act.’’

 (b)  Repeals. When the purpose of an amendatory bill is to repeal a provision by the use of a repealer clause, it is proper to cite the provision in the title in the form ‘‘AN ACT Repealing section 4 of the act’’ followed by the required reference to the statute and the subject matter of the provision repealed.

§ 15.213. Reference to amended titles.

 The titles of some statutes have been amended by subsequent statutes. In these cases, the title as it has been last amended should be set forth. In all cases of amended titles, the word ‘‘entitled’’ is followed by the words ‘‘as amended,’’ which immediately precede the quoted title.

§ 15.214. New matter in title.

 Immediately after the close of the quotation of the title of the statute to be amended, follows the new matter of the amendatory title. Its purpose is to express in as very few words as possible what the proposed changes in the statute are. The new matter may be a single phrase without punctuation except the period at the end. But more frequently it is divided into two or more phrases that are separated by semicolons.


§ 15.221. Form generally.

 (a)  General. The form of the bill is an amendment to the existing statute. Amendments follow a standard form as to references to the statute amended, references to previous amendments and statements of what is being done.

 (b)  Conforming to statute amended. Langugage and form are harmonized with that used in the statute amended, even if they do not conform to the drafting rules prescribed by this Subpart. When a new section is added to an existing statute the sections of which have section headings, a section heading is added to conform to the statute amended.

§ 15.222. Brackets and underscoring.

 Language intended to be taken out of an existing provision is enclosed in brackets and new language to be added is underscored. Removing language from the statute improperly may render the amendment unconstitutional. While the consequences of failure to underscore may not be serious, it is very important to the proper understanding of the bill. If language is removed and added at the same place, the language to be removed always come first, followed by the language added.

§ 15.223. Designation of new provisions.

 (a)  Changing provisions. Major subdivisions, sections, subsections or other minor subdivisions should not be renumbered or relettered. Doing so often leads to endless confusion in later citations of the provisions. It becomes difficult to determine whether reference is intended to the section or subdivision originally carrying the number or letter or to the renumbered or relettered section or subdivision.

 (b)  Adding provisions. If it becomes necessary to add one or more chapters between two existing chapters, they are designated, by the numeral of the next preceding chapter followed by a capital letter A, B, C, etc. (1A). The same system generally applies to subchapters (A-1). If sections or subsections are added, except at the end of the statute or in other cases where there is room for expansion, the next preceding designation is used followed by a dot and the numeral 1, 2, 3, etc. (2.1). This is not a decimal system; .12 is further advanced than .3.

§ 15.224. Describing provision amended.

 In designating the portion of a statute that is being amended it must be described accurately. If the bill recites for amendment an entire section and only a part of the section is set out, the whole attempt to amend may be unconstitutional and fail to accomplish anything.

§ 15.225. Sections of amendatory statute.

 (a)  Amendatory sections. The section of an amending or reenacting bill is the statement that the specified provision of an existing statute is ‘‘amended (or reenacted) to read,’’ or is ‘‘amended by adding a section (subsection, etc.) to read.’’ What comes after is the existing statute as changed or reenacted or the new provisions added to the existing statute. The section numbers and other designations appearing in it are of the existing statute and not of the bill.

 (b)  Additional sections. The amended or reenacted provisions may be followed by a general section of the amending or reenacting bill. The most common instance is a section fixing an effective date for the amendment or reenactment. Also, where the purpose of an amendment or reenactment is to cure a defect in an existing statute, it is always well to add a section validating what was done under the defective statute. In each case this is a section of the amending or reenacting statute, not of the statute amended or reenacted.

§ 15.226. Pre-1938 enacting clause.

 Prior to the special session of 1938 the enacting clause was different from that now in use and was incorporated as a part of the first section of the bill. In the Laws of Pennsylvania up to 1872, it was printed at length. From 1873 to 1937, only the abbreviation ‘‘Be it enacted, &c.,’’ was printed. In amending the first section of 1937 and earlier acts, this abbreviation is always used, whether or not the old enacting clause appears in full in the printed statute.

§ 15.227. Form of first amendatory section.

 (a)  Single amendment. Section one of the bill starts out with the citation of the section to be amended, 2, act of May 2, 1945 (P. L. 382, No. 164).’’ If the statute has a short title, this will be used, ‘‘known as the Municipality Authorities Act of 1945.’’ If the statute does not have a short title, its constitutional title is quoted, following the word ‘‘entitled.’’ After the quotation of the title appear the words ‘‘is amended to read.’’ Then follows the language of the section which is to be amended with the changes to be made indicated thereon.

 (b)  Multiple amendments. Frequently several sections of an existing statute will be amended in the same section of a bill. In such cases, all sections to be amended are enumerated at the beginning of the bill, and the language following the quotation of the title will be ‘‘are amended to read.’’ This is immediately followed by the language of the sections to be amended, one after the other in their proper order without regard to their continuity in the original statute. The same is true as to combinations of subsections or other minor subdivisions and as to combinations of sections, subsections or other minor subdivisions.

§ 15.228. Form of provisions amended.

 (a)  General. If a part only of a section is being amended, the section number and section heading, if any, are always set forth, even though the first part of the section is not included in the amendment. If less than all of the minor subdivisions of a section or subsection are being amended, in addition to the section number and heading, the preliminary language upon which all the minor subdivisions depend to express a complete thought is also included, but is not specifically cited for amendment unless a change in its language is made. Three asterisks (* * *) are used to indicate the omission of any language, whether at the beginning or any subsequent point in the section.

 (b)  Citing provision. In citing a subsection or other minor subdivision for amendment, the designations as they appear in the statute being amended, figures, parentheses, capital or small letters, Roman numerals, and numbers expressed in words are used just as they are in the statute amended, even though they do not conform to the rules set forth in this Subpart.

§ 15.229. Reenacting penalty clause.

 In changing a clause in a penal section or adding a new clause, the penalty is likewise included without being referred to unless it is changed. The reason is that penal statutes are strictly construed and it may be held that the part of the statute amended is not reenacted and published at length unless the penalty is included.


§ 15.241. Initial search.

 Before preparing an amendatory bill, it is necessary to make a proper search of prior amendments to the provision to be amended. Where the provision has been amended, it is necessary to ascertain that the last amendment has taken into consideration all preceding amendments. This is particularly important in the case of sections amended more than once in the same legislative session.

§ 15.242. Conforming multiple amendments.

 All prior amendments must be given effect unless the changes in the statute (as distinguished from mere changes in language) made by them are irreconcilable. Usually this can be done by removing and adding the changes made in each amendment. But sometimes new provisions are added in language of the old section that is removed by another amendment. A good example of this are the amendments made in 1953 to section 2502 of the Public School Code of 1949. A rewriting of the section was necessary to give effect to all the changes made by each of the five amendments.

§ 15.243. Reference to prior amendments.

 If the section, subsection or other minor subdivision that is being amended has been previously amended, the citation of the statute in section one of the bill is followed by a reference to the last amending statute followed by ‘‘is amended to read:’’ In cases of multiple amendments, it is necessary in citing the provision to be amended to specifically cite in chronological order each existing amendment that has not previously been accounted for in a later amendment.

§ 15.244. Grouping provisions previously amended.

 (a)  General. If a bill amends several sections, subsections or other minor subdivisions, some of which have been amended and others not, or some of which have been amended by different earlier statutes, the proper order of the parts amended is always maintained, but the sections of the amending bill will group them so as to include in each section all the consecutive provisions affected by the same amendment, or that have not been amended. This, of course, sometimes requires repetition of citations of amending statutes where sections otherwise affected intervene.

 (b)  Example. An example would be a bill containing the following:

   (1)  Section 1 of the bill amending sections 308 and 311 of the Public School Code of 1949 that have not been previously amended.

   (2)  Section 2 of the bill amending sections 315 and 317, ‘‘amended July 27, 1953 (P. L. 616, No. 176)’’.

   (3)  Section 3 of the bill amending section 672 and clause (c) of section 687, ‘‘amended January 21, 1952 (P. L. 2195, No. 627)’’.

   (4)  Section 4 of the bill amending sections 701, 733 and 739, which again have not been previously amended.

   (5)  Section 5 of the bill amending section 2511.1, again ‘‘amended January 21, 1952 (P. L. 2195, No. 627).’’

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