Legislation - How a Bill Becomes a Law

1. Idea Developed
A legislator sponsors a bill based on his interest or the interest of a constituent, interest group, public official or the Governor. The bill may be co-sponsored by other legislators.
2. Bill Drafted
The legislator directs various administrative offices to research and draft the bill in proper technical form.
3. Bill Introduced
The legislator gives the bill to the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House. The bill is numbered; a suggested committee recommendation is made. The bill is printed and placed on the calendar.
4. Committee Reference
The bill is referred to either the Joint Standing or Joint Select committees in either the house or senate, where it was created, then sent to the other chamber.
5. Committee Action
According to a public schedule, the chairs and committee conducts public hearings where those interested in supporting, opposing or commenting on the legislation give testimony.
6. General Order
The bill is reported to the floor for it’s first reading. Committee amendments may be adopted then the committee reports to the original body as is, amended, with a divided report or with unanimous recommendation of Ought Not to Pass.
7. Second Reading
The following legislative day a second reading of the bill is done and there may be amendments from the floor. Then it is sent to the other chamber for consideration.
8. Second Chamber
The bill goes through a similar process. If amendments are made, it is returned to the first chamber for a vote. It may be sent to the conference committee for a compromise that both chambers support. It must pass both chambers in identical form.
9. Governor
At this point the Governor has ten days to sign the bill into law or veto the bill. If the Governor does not sign it, within 10 days it becomes law, if the legislature is in session. If the legislature is not in session, it does not become law, which is a “pocket veto”.
10. Law
If passed, the bill will become law 90 days after the end of the legislative session. The bill may become law the date that the Governor signs it if 2/3 of each chamber declare it an emergency. A bill that is vetoed can become law if the Legislature over rides it with a 2/3 vote.