City Council is the legislative branch of government. It carries out duties in accordance with the Home Rule Charter and the laws of the state, and is primarily responsible for making laws which govern the City of Pittsburgh. City Council proposes, debates, and votes on legislation governing and/or affecting the city. This body also approves appointments as provided by the Charter, regulates revenues and expenditures, incurs debt, and approves the final operating and capital budgets for the city. Council is responsible for the introduction of legislation generated by the administrative branch of city government. Council may also introduce legislation generated by individual Council Members or Council as a body.
Pittsburgh's City Council is composed of nine members. Each member represents one council district, and is appointed to be the chairperson of a committee which corresponds to a city department. A one council representative per district system has not always been the electoral procedure for this legislative body. Formerly members were elected to Pittsburgh's City Council by way of at large elections where no particular member represented any specific district, but instead the entire council represented the whole City of Pittsburgh. In 1989, this form of representation was changed in order to insure that all Pittsburghers receive adequate representation that they could choose individually. This electoral process has proven to be more effective than that of the past in terms of fair and equal representation.