Summary of the Legislative Process
There are four types of legislation: 1. “bills,” which can become law if passed by both houses and signed by the Governor; 2. “joint resolutions,” which have the force and effect of law when passed by both houses, but which may not become part of the statutes; 3. “concurrent resolutions,” which express the will of both houses; and 4. “simple resolutions,” which express the will of the house of origin.
Every bill has an author, or joint authors, from either the Senate or the House of Representatives. After being authored, legislation is introduced by being read in the house of origin, known as the, “First Reading.” Then the House of Representatives Speaker, or the Senate President Pro Tempore, assigns the bill to a Committee. Senate bills are assigned to Senate Committees and House bills are assigned to House committees.
The bill is assigned the following day to a committee for study in the house of origin called the, "Second Reading." The Committee Chair decides if and when a bill will be heard in their Committee or not. If a bill is heard in Committee, it must receive a majority vote known as a, "due pass" in order to proceed to the full membership of the originating house for consideration by hearing and vote. Bills can be replaced in committee, known as, “Committee Substitutes.” After the bill passes committee, and awaits being called to the Chamber floor at the pleasure of the President Pro Tempore or Speaker, the bill is said to be, "On General Orders."
After study by the assigned committee, the bill is printed with any changes made by the committee and considered by the full membership of the house of origin, “Third Reading.” The bill is then printed to include any changes made by the house of origin and transmitted to the other house to repeat the same process.
The process begins all over again in the opposite house where the President Pro Tempore or Speaker assigns it again to a Committee, ("First Reading"). It is then heard and voted on in Committee ("Second Reading"), then after another "due pass" goes on to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate or Speaker of the House who decide if and when a bill will be heard on the full house floor for a vote (“Third Reading”).
When a bill's, "Title is Stricken," it must go back to the first house of origin after being approved by the other non-originating house. The purpose is for the original Committee to see any changes to the bill that were made, before final approval.
Any amendments made by the opposite house are considered when it returns to the house of origin. If agreed to by the house of origin, and if the title is not stricken, the bill's title remains intact allowing it to printed in its final form and considered for final passage, (“Fourth Reading”) transmitted to the Governor for consideration.
If the two houses are unable to agree with changes made by one or the other house, a joint conference committee is appointed with members from both houses to work out differences. The conference committee report goes first to the house of origin and then to the opposite house for consideration.
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Flowchart How a Bill Becomes Law