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How an idea becomes law


  • An Idea Is Developed.  A legislator draws from numerous sources in deciding what should be introduced in the Legislature as a bill.  Major sources of ideas come from constituents, government agencies, special interest groups, lobbyists, the Governor, and the legislator.  Many ideas for public safety legislation are first introduced in the discussions of the ULELC, as well as the Statewide Association of Prosecutors Legislative Affairs Committee (SWAPLAC).  Public safety officers are always welcome to bring an idea to the ULELC for discussion and support.
  • The Bill is Drafted.  Many public safety bills are drafted by attorneys serving the ULELC or SWAPLAC.  In other cases, the idea may be submitted to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, a nonpartisan legislative staff office, in the form of a bill request from a Legislator.  The assigned bill drafting attorney reviews existing law, researches the issues, and prepares the bill in proper technical form.  The bill is given a number.  A fiscal review is conducted and a "Fiscal Note" is attached. 
  • The Bill is Introduced.  The bill is introduced into the Legislature and referred to the Rules Committee.  The bill may be first introduced in either the House or the Senate.
  • The Bill Receives Standing Committee Review and Public Input.  The Rules Committee recommends to the presiding officer the standing committee to which the bill should be referred.  The standing committee, in an open meeting, reviews the bill and receives public testimony.  Most public safety bills are considered by either the House Committee on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice or the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.  The committee may amend, hold, table, substitute, or make a favorable recommendation on the bill.
  • The Bill Is Returned to the Floor.  Following the committee hearing the bill is returned to the full house with a committee report.  The committee reports the bill out favorably, favorably with amendments, substituted, or that the bill has been tabled.
  • The Bill is Debated in Open Session.  The bill is debated in open session.  During floor debate, the bill can be amended or substituted. It can be held (circled).  In order for a bill to pass the House of Representatives, it must receive at least 38 votes. The bill must receive at least 15 votes in the Senate in order to pass.
  • The Bill Passes Both Houses in the Legislature.  After the bill has gone through both houses, it is signed by both presiding officers (the Senate President and the Speaker of the House).
  • The Bill is Prepared for the Governor's Action.  The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel prepares the bill in final form.  This is called the "enrolled" bill.
  • The Bill Receives the Governor's Action.  The enrolled bill is sent to the Governor for his action.  He can either sign the bill, veto it, or allow it become law without his signature.
  • The Bill Becomes Effective.  A bill enacted by the Legislature is effective 60 days following adjournment, unless another date is specified in the bill.

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