How a Bill Becomes Law

How a Bill Becomes Law 2017-07-09T16:10:10-04:00


  • Conceived by individual legislator
  • Conceived by Study Committee, Ad Hoc Committee, Interim Committee
  • Conceived by citizen or citizens’ group
  • Conceived by special interest group or lobby


  • Drafted by any of above mentioned groups or individuals utilizing private legal resources
  • Drafted by legislative counsel on behalf of individual legislator, legislative committee, or subcommittee
  • Copied after legislation in other states


  • Filed with Clerk of House of Representatives
  • Read for first time (by title) to entire House by Clerk (assigned to committee by Speaker)
  • Read second time automatically on next legislative day

Committee Action

  • Chairman sets date for action on bill, notifies interested parties
  • Interested persons testify, for and against
  • Committee votes with several options available
    Recommend “do pass” for bill in original form
    Recommend “do pass” for bill with committee amendment
    Recommend “do pass” for bill as substituted by committee
    Recommend “do not pass” for bill either in original form or in amended or substituted form
    Pass bill with no recommendation
    Hold bill / no action

Bill (if given “do pass” recommendation) Returned To House

  • Placed on calendar
  • Called by Speaker for third reading and vote
  • Bill debated on floor / Bill may be amended or substituted on floor by majority vote
  • Bill passed or defeated by majority vote (2/3 vote required for tax measure or constitutional amendment  resolution)

To The Senate

Bills that pass the House, in whatever form, are transmitted to the Senate where a similar process takes place

Return To House

  • Senate amendments require House approval
  • If  House concurs with  Senate amendment in its entirety, measure is passed and sent to the Governor
  • If  House  disagrees with the Senate amendment or changes any other language, bill is assigned to conference committee composed of three house and three senate  members
  • Conference committee may rewrite  entire bill or resolve differences on conflicting language
  • Conference committee report  read in House and Senate which accepts or rejects the report
  • If accepted the bill is passed
  • If either chamber rejects the conference report, the measure is assigned to  new conference committee or  allowed to die

Bill Goes To Governor

  • Governor may sign the bill into law
  • May veto the bill
  • Bills not acted on will automatically become law (has 6 days during session and 40 days after session)

Veto Override

  • General Assembly may override a veto by 2/3 vote and measure becomes law.