How A Bill Becomes A Law Essay
, Research Paper
A delegate or senator has an idea for a bill, usually from a constituent.
He or she presents the idea to the Division of Legislative Services and requests that it be drafted into a bill. The bill is signed by the patron, introduced, and printed.
The bill is referred to an appropriate committee.
The members of the committee consider the bill and decide what action to take. This is when the public may speak.
First Reading: The bill title is printed in the Calendar or is read by the Clerk, and the bill advances to second reading.
Second Reading: The next day the bill title appears in the printed Calendar on second reading. Bills are considered in the order in which they appear on the Calendar. The Clerk reads the title of the bill a second time. A bill on second reading is amendable. A bill that has passed second reading with or without an amendment is engrossed. If an amendment is adopted, the bill is reprinted in its final form for passage.
Third Reading: The next day, the engrossed bill title appears in the Calendar on third reading. The title is read a third time by the Clerk. By recorded vote, the bill is passed.
Communication: When passed, the bill is sent to the other body, either by the Clerk in a communication or by a member in person, informing the other body that the bill has passed.
In the other body: The bill goes through essentially the same procedure as it did in the house of origin. The bill title is printed in the Calendar or is read by the Clerk. The bill is referred to a standing committee, considered, and reported by the committee. The title is read a second and a third time before passage.
Committee of Conference:
If the House amends a Senate bill, or the Senate amends a House bill, and the house of origin disagrees with the amendment, a conference committee, usually three members from each legislative body, may be formed to resolve differences.
Enrollment: After being passed by both houses of the General Assembly, the bill is printed as an enrolled bill, examined, and signed by the presiding officer of each chamber.
Governor: The bill is then sent to the Governor for his approval. After being signed by the Governor, the bill is sent to the Clerk of the House (Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth) and is assigned a Chapter number. All Chapters of a session are compiled and bound as the Acts of Assembly.
Bills that become law at a regular session (or the reconvened session that follows) are effective the first day of July following adjournment of the regular session, unless otherwise specified.