How a Bill Becomes a Law



Senate Example

bill circle1. An idea comes to a Senator.

2. A Bill drafting Commission puts it into appropriate language.

3. Introduction & Revision Office examines the Bill, corrects wordage if needed, gives the Bill a number, and sends it to a Committee most appropriate for that topic.

4. Committee receives Bill for study, hearings, amendments. The Committee may report (send) the Bill to the full Senate for consideration, it may amend the Bill, or it may reject the Bill. While in Committee is really a good time to write letters to lobby for or against the Bill.

5. If it is approved by Committee the Bill is put on the Senate Calendar in the order that the Bills come out of all the Committee. Each Bill sits for 3 days before it can be debated and voted on unless the Governor steps in. This gives ABATE members time for a big push of letter writing. Now all Senators will have a vote. The Bill can still be stopped here. If voted on, the Bill is either approved or disapproved.

6. If approved the Bill goes to the Assembly. You can write,call, fax your Assemblyman at this stage. If it is a companion Bill (the same Bill in Senate and Assembly) you have probably been lobbying the Assembly already. It will be approved or amended. If amended it will go back to the Senate for agreement. If approved it will go to Governor.

7. The Governor's desk usually is the final point in the lawmaking process, and it is the final spot at which you can have some influence.

While the Legislation is in session, the Governor has ten days (not counting Sundays) to sign or veto Bills passed by both houses. If he signs the bill, it becomes law. If he doesn't sign it within ten days it still becomes law. If he disapproves, he may veto the bill within ten days or return it to the house where it originated with a statement explaining his reason. 2/3 of both houses can "override" his veto but that rarely happens.

Please remember this is a simplified description.