To introduce a bill

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  • 1. A bill is a proposed law. It can be drafted by any competent person. The Legislative Services Commision's Bill Drafting Divivions drafts bills at the request of the members of the General Assembly. The Office of the Attorney General has the statutory duty to draft bills for the State departments and agencies generally, including the General Assembly. Thus legislators have two separate offices to which they may turn for drafts of bills.
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  • 2. A bill is a proposed law. A member of the General Assembly proposes a bill they want to become a law. Only a member  of the General Assembly can introduce a bill and they are called the "bill's introducer" or "sponsor". The Reading Clerk reads the name of the introducer, the bill number, and the bill title aloud.
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  • 3. Normally, when a bill is introduced, the Chair of the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee for Senate bills and the Speaker of the House of Representatives for House bills name a committee to which the bill will be assigned for careful study and recommendation. If the committee approves the bill, it reports this fact and the bill is placed on the calendar - the daily schedule of business - for consideration by the full membership of the body. Changes to the bill called "Amendments" may be recommended by the committee or may be proposed by a member from the floor
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  • This bill is now a law Governor signature President Officer #1 signature President Officer #2 signature
  • 4. When its time for a consideration of the bill by the full membership of the house (Senate or House of Representatives), the Chair will recognize the sponsor of the bill or the chair of the committee who recommended the bill for passage. That person will explain the bill, and then any member who wants to speak for or against the bill will be heard. Sometimes there is long and heated debate; sometimes there is no debate at all. After everyone has spoken, a vote is taken. If the vote is favorable, the bill is sent to be read a second time, then moves on for a third and final reading, which there may be more debate.
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  • 5. After the bill has passed its third reading in the house in which it was introduced, it is sent to the other house, where it goes through the same process as in the first house. It is referred to committee, and if its approved, its debated and voted  on at the second and third readings on the floor
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  • 6-7. It often happens that the second house will make changes in a bill that was passed by the house in which the bill originated. In those cases the bill must be returned to the house of origin with a request that the body concur in the changes. If the original house does concur, he bill is ready to be enrolled and signed into a law. After a bill passes both houses, it is enrolled. A clean document, even with all the amendments, is prepared and spaces are made for it to be signed. It is signed by two presiding officers, and the governor if its necessary. After the second signature is affixed, the bill has to be ratified
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