[r85] POND REPORT: Second Half of Session Gives House Chance to Discuss Senate Bills (3/31/2011)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Start Date: 3/31/2011 All Day
End Date: 3/31/2011
It took a little longer than in other years, but the Indiana General Assembly officially is in the second half of the legislative session.

The Indiana House of Representatives on Wednesday finished voting on the bills introduced to the House of Representatives in January. For the remaining four weeks of the session, the Indiana House will begin discussing bills the Indiana Senate passed earlier this year.

No more bills can be introduced in either the House or Senate and legislators begin to only discuss bills that have already passed one chamber of the General Assembly.

Typically this part of the legislative process happens in February. However, the amount of time the Indiana House will have to discuss these Senate bills decreased because of the House Democrats fleeing the state for five weeks.

For legislation to become a law in Indiana, it required that a majority of legislators vote for it in both the Indiana Senate and Indiana House.

In the Indiana House the process of examining these Indiana Senate bills is similar to when a bill is first introduced in the House.

When a bill is introduced it is assigned to a committee for further consideration. The committee chairman, after receiving these bills, will then determine which of those bills the committee will give public hearings to and further discuss.

If a committee chairman chooses not to hear a bill, then that bill is considered dead for the rest of the legislative session. The bills that are discussed in committee usually receive hours of public testimony and are debated before the committee members vote on the bill.

Bills that pass committees are then sent to the House Floor where any representative can propose amendments that can add or change the language in a bill. These amendments are voted on before the Indiana House has a final vote on a bill.

After the amendment process, the Indiana House can vote in favor of the bill and send it to the governor for final approval or the representatives can vote against the bill and kill it for the rest of the General Assembly session.

If any amendment is made to a bill, it will move into a conference committee. Conference committees are comprised of Indiana Senate and Indiana House members who work together to come up with a compromise on the two versions of the bill.

The conference committee will then present a new version of the bill to both the Indiana House and Indiana Senate. Each chamber will vote on the new version of the bill.

Once a bill passes both legislative bodies the governor then can sign it into law. If the governor opts to veto the bill, both the Indiana House and Indiana Senate can override the veto with a simple majority vote. Unlike at the federal level, an Indiana governor has a rather weak veto power that gives the Indiana House and Indiana Senate an easier ability to fully pass a law.

There are about 200 bills that passed the Indiana Senate and are ready to be further discussed in the Indiana House.


State Rep. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven) represents portions of Allen and DeKalb counties.