Bills and Laws
An idea for a law can come from anyone: an individual or group of citizens; a legislator or legislative committee; an agency in the executive or judicial branch; or a lobbyist.
By statute, state agencies must presession file bills. Legislators or legislative committees may file an unlimited number of measures within established timelines set by rule.
A bill, the most common type of measure, is a proposal for a law. All statutes, except those initiated by the people or referred to the people by the Legislative Assembly, must be enacted through a bill.
The path of a bill, from the time it is just an idea to the time it arrives at the Governor's desk for approval, may follow a path with many detours. In order for a bill to become law, it must be passed by both Chambers in the identical form. A bill may be introduced in either the Senate or the House with the exception of revenue bills which must originate in the House. This is achieved through the following step-by-step process, using the House of Representatives, for example, as the house of origin.
Steps of How an Idea Becomes Law
- An idea to change, amend or create a new law is presented to a Legislative Member.
- The Member decides to sponsor the bill and introduce it to their respective chamber, and requests that the attorneys in the Legislative Counsel's office draft the bill in the proper legal language.
- The bill is then presented to the Secretary of Senate (Senate Chamber) or Chief Clerk of the House (House Chamber), who assigns the bill a number and sends it back to the Legislative Counsel's office to verify it is in proper legal form and style.
- The bill is then sent to the State Printing Division, where it is printed and returned to Chamber for its first reading.
- After the bill's first reading, the Speaker refers it to a committee. The bill is also forwarded to the Legislative Fiscal Officer and Legislative Revenue Officer for determination of fiscal or revenue impact the measure might have.
How an Idea Becomes Law is available on the Citizen Engagement page.