What is the legislative process?


wiseGEEK Writing Contest

For bills to become law in the typical American bicameral system, they must first be sponsored by a senator or representative. The bill may be brought before a committee for consideration. Committees are generally organized so that representatives may specialize in specific areas (ex. Education, Appropriations and Revenue, etc), and to allow for co-sponsorship of proposals. In committee bills may be amended by a majority voice vote or recorded vote. After passing through committee, they may be presented in front of the chamber (the House or the Senate). In the chamber a bill may be amended by a majority voice vote or recorded vote. A bill must pass both the House and the Senate to be presented to the Governor (or President). The Governor (or President) is capable of keeping bills from passage by vetoing them, but the veto can be overridden by majority votes of passage in the House and the Senate. In some states it only takes a simple majority (51%), while in others it requires a two-thirds majority. This rule varies depending on the state constitution. After passage in both the House and the Senate,and the signature or ambivalence of the Governor (or President), or veto override, the bill will become law. In certain states if a Governor does not approve of a bill but does not desire to veto it, the bill will become law after a certain period of time without the Governor's signature.

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