How a bill becomes a law
A few weeks ago I wrote about wanting to hear your locally grown ideas and I thought I would take the time to let you know the process your ideas go through in order to become law. With the summer months behind us and Organization Day just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time. I’ve received some great input for Locally Grown Ideas and I am looking forward to hearing more.
The legislative process all begins when constituents, like you, bring up issues to their legislators: our job is to hear your ideas and implement them as laws to make Indiana a better place to live, raise our children and run our businesses. Once legislators draft their bills, they will introduce them to either the House or Senate.
After the bill is introduced to the House or Senate, it will be heard on a first reading and then assigned to a committee. Committee hearings are especially important because it gives members the opportunity to discuss the bill and hear public testimony. After hearing public testimony, we may add amendments to further address issues or concerns that were addressed during. To decide whether the bill should be moved to the full House or Senate, the committee members cast a vote.
The second reading is heard by the legislative body, which allows any representative, regardless of party affiliation, an opportunity to amend the bill. Each amendment is voted up or down if the legislator decides to bring their amendment to the floor. The third reading is where the bill in its entirety (including any amendments that were added during the second reading) is voted on by the full chamber. Once passed, the bill switches chambers, giving either the House or Senate to go through the same exact process in order to better the bill.
A number of things can happen after the bill is heard, and passed, by both chambers. If no changes were made, the bill goes to the Governor’s desk for signing. In the instance that the bill was amended in the second chamber, it must go back to the chamber of origin for the amendments to be voted on. If the changes are approved, it will go to the Governor’s desk for signing.
Given the instance that the original chamber does not pass the amendments, it will be sent to a conference committee. These committees are made up of four legislators, two from each chamber. They will work together to find a common ground. Both chambers will vote on said changes. If both chambers approve, then the bill moves to the Governor’s desk. If both chambers do not, the bill will be killed.
Once the Governor gets the bill, he can sign it into law, veto the bill or do nothing. If he vetoes the bill, legislators have the ability to override a veto with a majority vote from both chambers. If the Governor does nothing, the bill will become a law in seven days.
I am looking forward to going through this process in just a few months with some of your ideas. Aiding the issues of my constituents is my priority and I pledge to do my best.