Request text and history of legislative proposals

GLOSSARY OF LEGISLATIVE TERMS

  • Act: A bill approved by both houses of the legislature and signed by the governor, or allowed to become law without signature, or passed by the legislature over the governor's veto.
  • Adoption: A motion used to describe final action taken on all amendments and conference committee reports. Each house may adopt or refuse to adopt an amendment or report.
  • Amendment: A proposal to change a bill, joint resolution, or resolution by adding, deleting, or substituting language. (See also simple and substitute amendment.)
  • Appropriation: The setting aside of public revenues for a specific use or program.
  • Author(s): The legislator or legislative committee that introduces a bill or resolution. Members of the same house who sign the bill are referred to as co-authors.
  • Bill: An idea, drafted in legal language, to change current law by adding new language, deleting old language, or amending existing language.
  • Bulletin of Proceedings: A publication of the legislature that contains a numerical list of all bills and other measures introduced and the actions taken on them; indexes by subject matter and author of all measures introduced; and a numerical listing of statute sections and session laws affected by acts and enrolled bills of the current session and acts from the previous session that had an effective date delayed until the current session.
  • Calendar: The daily schedule of business for each house that shows the order in which proposals and other business will be taken up on the floor.
  • Call of the House: A procedure for requiring the attendance of absent members.
  • Committee: A group of legislators appointed to hold public hearings or otherwise consider proposals within certain subject areas and recommend some of them for further consideration on the floor. (See also conference committee, special committee, and standing committee.)
  • Concurrence: A measure that has passed one house is sent to the second house for agreement or concurrence. The second house may concur or may refuse to concur.
  • Conference Committee: A committee consisting of members of both houses to work out their differences when the 2 houses pass different versions of the same bill.
  • Constituents: People who live in a given senate or assembly district.
  • Division of the Question: To break a question into 2 or more separate propositions so that each can receive legislative action.
  • Engross: A motion to engross a bill is the step before final passage in the house of origin. An order to print a proposal in its engrossed form means to incorporate all amendments and chief clerks corrections to the original bill for consideration by the second house.
  • Enroll: Once a bill has passed both houses, its amendments, corrections, and changes are consolidated into one text to be presented to the governor for signature.
  • Executive Session: A committee meeting where committee members vote on the disposition of a bill or other proposal. Only committee members may speak in an executive session.
  • Expunge the Record: To remove material from the record, and thus undo legislative action.
  • Extraordinary Session: The convening of the legislature by the assembly and senate committees on organization or by petition or joint resolution of the legislature to accomplish the business specified in the action calling the session.
  • First Reading: The formal announcement on the floor of the legislature that a bill or other proposal has been introduced.
  • Fiscal Estimate: An estimate of the change in state and local government revenues and expenditures that a bill may cause.
  • Floor Debate: Discussion of a proposal in the Senate or Assembly chambers. A bill being debated is referred to as being "on the floor."
  • Floorperiods: Times set aside by the session schedule during which legislators consider and debate measures in the Senate and Assembly chambers.
  • Floor Amendment: Any amendment offered for legislative consideration at the 2nd reading stage, or for committee consideration, but not drafted by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
  • Germaneness: The relevance or appropriateness of amendments to a proposal.
  • History: A procedural record of actions on any given proposal.
  • Indefinite Postponement: A motion to kill a proposal in its house of origin for a legislative session.
  • Joint Hearing: A hearing held by a joint committee or by committees of the senate and the assembly.
  • Joint Resolution: A proposal that makes a request, affects operations of both houses, pays tribute to public figures, or proposes a constitutional amendment that is acted on by both houses but does not require approval by the governor.
  • Joint Session: A joint meeting of the senate and the assembly.
  • Joint Standing Committee: A permanent committee made up of members from both houses of the legislature.
  • Journals: The official record of legislative business kept by each house of the legislature. They do not keep a record of floor debate.
  • Lobbyists: People who are paid to represent various interest groups before the legislature.
  • Override: The legislature may pass a measure over the governor's objections by voting to override a veto by a two-thirds majority of members present in both houses.
  • Paired Voting: When a roll call vote is requested, each member must vote either "aye" or "no" unless paired with another member. Pairing is a written agreement between 2 members on the opposite sides of a question not to vote on the question if one or both are absent with leave, which allows the absent member to influence the outcome of the vote.
  • Parliamentary Inquiry: A request for an explanation of a legislative rule or procedure (see also Point of Order).
  • Parliamentary Procedure: The rules and rulings under which legislatures conduct their business.
  • Partial Veto: The governor may veto any part of an appropriation bill.
  • Point of Order: A request that the presiding officer rule on a matter of parliamentary procedure.
  • Public Hearing: Meetings held by committees at which members of the public, lobbyists, legislators, and state agency representatives may speak or register for or against a proposal.
  • Relating Clause: That part of the title of a bill or other proposal that identifies the general subject matter of the measure.
  • Remain Informal: A temporary suspension of proceedings in the senate or the assembly chambers.
  • Resolution: A proposal that makes a request, affects the operations of one house, including amending its rules, that requires no action by the 2nd house.
  • Roll Call Vote: A vote in which members' votes are recorded with their names.
  • Rules: The detailed code of parliamentary procedure adopted by each house at the beginning of each session. They prescribe the way in which the legislature does business and provide methods for settling disputes. In addition to the rules of each house, there are also joint rules.
  • Second Reading: The stage at which amendments to proposals are considered.
  • Section: There are sections of the statutes and sections of bills or acts. A section of the statutes is the primary division of a statute chapter, for example Section 13.01. Sections are also the divisions in bills or acts.
  • Service Committee: Committees that primarily handle the internal operations of each house.
  • Session: The entire 2-year period that begins with the swearing in of a new legislature in January of the odd-numbered year and ends just before the swearing in of the next legislature.
  • Session Laws: The acts of the legislature compiled and published for each biennial session. The acts of the 1993 Legislature will be the Laws of 1993.
  • Session Schedule: Adopted by the legislature at the beginning of each session, it sets the dates for floorperiods and committee work periods.
  • Simple Amendment: It changes some portion of a bill or other proposal by adding, deleting, or substituting language. It is an instruction to do something to the measure.
  • Skeleton Session: A brief formal convening of the Assembly or Senate held purely to satisfy the constitutional requirement that a house cannot adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other house, and to make pro forma referrals. There is no debate or voting on bills. The session usually lasts a few minutes and involves only two or three members and the clerk.
  • Special Committee: A committee appointed to examine legislation on a particular topic. Sometimes called a select committee, it automatically ceases to exist when its task is finished or when the session ends.
  • Standing Committee: Committees established by the rules of each house to examine legislation, hold hearings, and make recommendations on legislative measures. They may be abolished or created only by changing the rules.
  • Statutes: The general laws of the state that have been given statute section numbers by legislation or by supreme court order. They are revised every 2 years.
  • Substitute Amendment: It completely rewrites and may replace a bill or other proposal.
  • Sustain: To uphold the governor's action following a veto or partial veto of a bill.
  • Table: A motion in parliamentary procedure to temporarily set aside a measure and attend to other business.
  • Third Reading: The stage at which bills and other proposals come up for final discussion and possible passage. No amendments may be offered at this point.
  • Veto: A bill passed by the legislature that the governor rejects in its entirety.
  • Veto Message: For each bill vetoed or partially vetoed, the governor must explain the reasons for the veto in a message to the legislature.
  • Voice Vote: A vote taken by asking the members in favor of a question to say “aye” simultaneously and then the members opposed to likewise say “no”.