The Final Countdown
Session is coming to an end and the last two weeks can be the busiest. Many times, I catch myself thinking that session does not always resemble what I learned in school, so I wanted to fill you in on what the last two weeks of session look like.
Although many bills pass out of both the House and the Senate, the author may or may not agree with the changes that have been added to their original bill. This is when the legislation is debated in conference committees, where members of the House and the Senate hash out their issues on specific pieces of legislation.
Once a bill has left the House, any changes that are made in the Senate have to be concurred or agreed upon. If the author does not agree with the change, then the member will file a dissent. After a dissent has been filed, the bill will be sent to a conference committee. A conference committee is made up of four members the Speaker of the House and the Senate Pro Tempore choose: one from the Senate Republicans, one from the Senate Democrats, one from the House Republicans, and one from the House Democrats.
The four members will come together for the assigned conference committee where they can choose to take testimony, discuss the particular bill and what changes they want to see implemented. Once the four members decide which parts of the legislation they agree upon, the chairman of the committee will meet with the Legislative Services Agency (LSA). LSA will then put together a Conference Committee Report to be circulated back, signed and approved by all four of the members.
If the Governor approves of the bill, he will sign the legislation into law; however, if he does not like the legislation, he can veto the bill. If the Governor vetoes the bill, the bill is still not completely dead. The legislation has one last chance to go back to the House and Senate to be voted on. The House must receive 51 votes and the Senate must receive 26 votes in order to overrule the Governor’s veto and pass the bill into law.
The process may seem a little confusing at times, but it is important that we hear every member’s voice and concerns in order to do what is best for Hoosiers. I have been honored to speak on behalf of our community this legislative session and look forward to representing our community’s voice in the future.