PENNSYLVANIA L EGISLATIVE
HEARINGS AND INTERVIEW
I sought Pennsylvania House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on crime and justice from several sources and identified 479 hearings in both chambers between 1965 and 2004. A list of all Senate judiciary hearings from 1985 to 2004 was provided by the office of the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Senate hearings prior to 19 85 were archived, and a comprehensive list from 1965–84 was provided by the Senate library. For House judiciary committee hearings, I received lists of hearings of the period 1979 through 2004 from administrative assistants in the House Judiciary Committee office and the chief clerk’s office. For hearings prior to 1979, I received a list from the State Archives identifying all House Judiciary Committee hearings. I also searched the Pennsylvania State Archives website for any additional hearings. I am particularly grateful to Judy Sedesse, Peggy Nissly, and Jackie Jumper in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Pennsylvania Archives for their enormous assistance in helping me locate these hearings. I would never have been able to compile this dataset without their kind, generous, and able assistance. There are obvious limitations to these data. By acknowledgment of the archivists in the Senate Archives and the State Archives, it is unlikely that the lists of hearings prior to the 1980s are complete. However, both archivists indicated that major hearings are most likely to have been recorded.
Physically retrieving the hearing transcripts was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. As a result, the hearings from which witness lists were analyzed do not make up a random sample but rather a careful selection of hearings that includes a wide range of topics (n = 309). Since the earlier years had fewer hearings, I obtained a range of hearings covering a diverse set of topics that included both bill and nonbill hearings. In particular, I included as many hearings on substantive crime topics as I could from both periods, in order to avoid undersampling hearings that were most likely to include the citizen groups of particular interest in this project.