Day 5: Bills Through the Legislative Process

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The first step of the journey of a bill starts after a bill is delivered to the Front Desk from either the drafter or a legislator. In the House, the Chief Clerk and in the Senate it is the Secretary of the Senate that checks the date on the bill back to make sure the bill is submitted accordingly to the deadline schedule.The bill is then assigned a bill number in the Enrolling Room in the order that they were received and assigned to a committee(s) of reference by the Speaker/President.

This leads us to the sponsorship of bills in which there is a prime sponsor (Representative/Senator) introducing the bill. The sponsors names on the bill are those Representatives/Senators names that appear on the bill at the time a bill is introduced. The chance for legislators to be co-sponsors are called for by the Speaker/President following all of the roll call votes on a bill. Next, there is the First Reading with the introduction of bills. The bill is read with the bill number stated, the title is read and the prime sponsor(s). Depending on which chamber the bill starts in, the Speaker/President state the committee assignment(s). The original bill is delivered to the staff person of the assigned committee of reference and the bill is scheduled for a hearing by the committee of reference. After hearing the bill, a report stating committee action is prepared and delivered to the House/Senate and every bill must have a fiscal note prepared and attached before being passed out from a committee.

The journey continues to Second (General Orders) and Third Readings (Final Passage). For Second Reading the House or the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole body to debate the bills placed on the Second Reading or special orders calendar and a legislator presides over the committee. The Chair of the Committee of the Whole rules on each motion, bills and or amendments that are deemed passed or lost. For third readings, bills must have a prime sponsor in the second house before being heard on Third Reading and a formal recorded vote is taken on each bill during Third Reading.

The bill(s) are transmitted to the Second House and the House/Senate Enrolling Room and Legislative Legal Services proofread the bills. The bill is delivered to the Second House along with information that states the action that was taken by the first House. The bill is then introduced in the second House which follows the same exact process that took place in the first House.

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