The Legislative Process
For those interested in joining the Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy efforts, here is an overview of the Legislative Process — or, how a bill (such as the annual state appropriation for higher education bill) becomes law.
This information is summarized from A Citizens Guide to State Government (PDF, 2.3MB):
- A bill is introduced in either the Senate or the House by being read into the record and sent to the appropriate standing committee. (Bills about budget matters — like the higher education appropriations bill — go directly to the appropriations standing committee and from there to the higher education sub-committee of that standing committee.)
- The bill may/may not be considered by the committee and there may/may not be public hearings. If a bill is considered by committee and is reported out favorably, it is sent back to the Senate or House for another reading of the original bill and the committee’s amendments, followed by discussion and further revision.
- At a third reading, again followed by debate and amendment, a final version of the original bill is either passed or defeated by a majority vote or referred back to committee, postponed indefinitely, tabled or made a special order of business. A legislator may move to have the bill reconsidered whether it passes or is defeated.
- If a bill passes, it goes to the other house where the same process is followed. If it passes both houses in the same form it goes to the governor for signature.
- If it passes but in a different form than was received from the other house, it goes back to that house. If the changes made are accepted by the other house, it goes to the governor for signature. If the changes are not accepted the bill goes to a conference committee, made up of representatives from both houses, for resolution. If a first conference report is rejected, a 2nd conference committee can be appointed.
- The governor has 14 days after receiving a bill to sign it, veto it or do neither in which case it becomes law in 14 days unless the legislature adjourns at the end of the year within that 14 days. In that case it does not become law.
- If the governor vetoes a bill while the legislature is in session or recess, the legislature may override the veto by a 2/3 vote of the members in both houses, table it while it tries to override the veto or re-referred to a committee.