Glossary of Legislative Terms
- Act: A bill approved by
both houses of the legislature and signed by the governor, or allowed to
become law without signature, or passed by the legislature over the governor's
- Adoption: A motion used
to describe final action taken on all amendments and conference committee
reports. Each house may adopt or refuse to adopt an amendment or report.
- Amendment: A proposal to
change a bill, joint resolution, or resolution by adding, deleting, or
substituting language. (See also simple and substitute amendment.)
- Appropriation: The
setting aside of public revenues for a specific use or program.
- Author(s): The legislator
or legislative committee that introduces a bill or resolution. Members of the
same house who sign the bill are referred to as co-authors.
- Bill: An idea, drafted in
legal language, to change current law by adding new language, deleting old
language, or amending existing language.
- Bill Book--bills are
numbered consecutively as introduced and all bills, as they are printed, are
placed in bill books, or binders, in numerical order. All legislators, and
many other persons who work with the legislature, are provided with bill
- Calendar: The daily
schedule of business for each house that shows the order in which proposals
and other business will be taken up on the floor.
- Committee: A group of
legislators appointed to hold public hearings or otherwise consider proposals
within certain subject areas and recommend some of them for further
consideration on the floor. (See also conference committee, special committee,
and standing committee.)
- Concurrence: A measure
that has passed one house is sent to the second house for agreement or
concurrence. The second house may concur or may refuse to concur.
- Conference Committee: A
committee consisting of members of both houses to work out their differences
when the 2 houses pass different versions of the same bill.
- Constituents: People who
live in a given senate or assembly district.
- Executive Session: A
committee meeting where committee members vote on the disposition of a bill or
other proposal. Only committee members may speak in an executive session.
- First Reading:
The formal announcement on the floor of the legislature that a bill or other
proposal has been introduced.
- Floor Debate: Discussion
of a proposal in the Senate or Assembly chambers. A bill being debated is
referred to as being "on the floor."
- Joint Resolution: A
proposal that makes a request, affects operations of both houses, pays tribute
to public figures, or proposes a constitutional amendment that is acted on by
both houses but does not require approval by the governor.
- Joint Standing Committee:
A permanent committee made up of members from both houses of the legislature.
- Journals: The official
record of legislative business kept by each house of the legislature. They do
not keep a record of floor debate.
- Lobbyists: People who are
paid to represent various interest groups before the legislature.
- Override: The legislature
may pass a measure over the governor's objections by voting to override a veto
by a two-thirds majority of members present in both houses.
- Parliamentary Procedure:
The rules and rulings under which legislatures conduct their business.
- Public Hearing: Meetings
held by committees at which members of the public, lobbyists, legislators, and
state agency representatives may speak or register for or against a proposal.
- Resolution: A proposal
that makes a request, affects the operations of one house, including amending
its rules, that requires no action by the 2nd house.
- Roll Call Vote: A vote in
which members' votes are recorded with their names.
- Rules: The detailed code
of parliamentary procedure adopted by each house at the beginning of each
session. They prescribe the way in which the legislature does business and
provide methods for settling disputes. In addition to the rules of each house,
there are also joint rules.
- Second Reading:
The www at which amendments to proposals are considered.
- Section: There are
sections of the statutes and sections of bills or acts. A section of the
statutes is the primary division of a statute chapter, for example Section
13.01. Sections are also the divisions in bills or acts.
- Simple Amendment: It
changes some portion of a bill or other proposal by adding, deleting, or
substituting language. It is an instruction to do something to the measure.
- Special Committee: A
committee appointed to examine legislation on a particular topic. Sometimes
called a select committee, it automatically ceases to exist when its task is
finished or when the session ends.
- Standing Committee:
Committees established by the rules of each house to examine legislation, hold
hearings, and make recommendations on legislative measures. They may be
abolished or created only by changing the rules.
- Sustain: To uphold the
governor's action following a veto or partial veto of a bill.
- Table: A motion in
parliamentary procedure to temporarily set aside a measure and attend to other
- Third Reading:
The www at which bills and other proposals come up for final discussion and
possible passage. No amendments may be offered at this point.
- Veto: A bill passed by
the legislature that the governor rejects in its entirety.
- Veto Message: For each
bill vetoed or partially vetoed, the governor must explain the reasons for the
veto in a message to the legislature.
Research Council: Glossary of Legislative Terms