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How a Bill Becomes a Law

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How a Bill Becomes a Law - Page Text Content


FC: HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW | Written by Rechelle Hodges

1: I HAVE AN IDEA! | Any Senator or General Assembly member may propose or sponsor a new law. Ideas for laws can come from many sources such as citizens, interest groups, public officials or the Governor.

2: At the legislator's direction, the idea is drafted as a bill. The legislator may ask other legislators to become co-sponsors.

3: The bill is introduced when the Senate Secretary or General Assembly Clerk reads aloud the bill's number, sponsor and title during a legislative session.

4: The bill is usually sent to a committee which studies it and makes changes, if needed. These changes are called amendments. Committees have open meetings where the public may speak about the bill.

5: If the committee approves the bill, it is reported to the House and its title is read again. This is the bill's second reading.

6: When scheduled by the Senate President or Assembly Speaker, the bill's title is read for the third time, and it is debated and voted on. A bill passes if it receives a majority of votes (at least 21 in the Senate or 41 in the General Assembly).

7: The bill follows a similar path of first reading, committee consideration, second reading, third reading and final passage in the second house. After both houses agree on the bill, it is sent to the Governor. In most cases, the bill becomes law when signed by the Governor.

8: If the President signs the bill, or takes no action while Congress is in session, then the bill becomes a law. If Congress overrides a presidential veto, the bill becomes a law.

9: The Governor may veto a bill by refusing to sign it and returning it to the Legislature with noted objections or proposed changes. There are several types of vetoes. Sometimes, a vetoed bill can still become law.

10: If enough Members object to the presidential veto, a vote is taken to override, or overrule the veto. A two-thirds vote or greater is needed in both the House and the Senate to override the President's veto.

11: If two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote successfully to override the veto, the bill becomes a law. If the House and Senate do not override the veto, the bill "dies" and does not become a law.

12: That is a long process. I didn't know making a bill into a law, would take so much time.

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  • By: Rechelle H.
  • Joined: over 10 years ago
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  • Title: How a Bill Becomes a Law
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  • Published: over 10 years ago