This selection of worksheets looks at all the intricate parts of how a bill is shaped and focused into finally becoming a law. We look at the roles and responsibilities of all elected officials along the way. We also help student dissect some common political jargon that is often heard, but not understood by most. This process is looked at both the federal and state level. We finish off by looking at the difference between public and private bills. We start every topic we explore with a reading worksheet and follow it up with question worksheet that is either free response, multiple choice, or a mixture of both.
To introduce a bill, the sponsor places the document in a special box to the side of the clerk's desk called the hopper.
Once the sponsor knows that the bill has some support, the sponsor introduces it into the House of Representatives for consideration.
When a bill is assigned to a committee, it's the committee's job to talk about it and get it into shape to be a law.
When a committee doesn't take any action on a bill they receive, or if they decide to stop working on it they don't support, then we say that it "died in committee" and it will not become a law.
Because a bill is frequently revised in committee, it is not uncommon for the House and Senate to pass two different versions of the same bill.
The Conference Committee is usually composed of members from both the House and the Senate. These individuals are typically the more senior members of the standing committees that worked on the original bill.
A quorum is the minimum number of members of a group or organization that need to attend a meeting in order for whatever takes place at the meeting to be valid.
There are different ways that Congress can vote on a bill. In a roll call vote, the clerk calls each member by name, and the member calls out their vote ("yea" or "nay") when they hear their name.
The U.S. Constitution gave the Legislative branch of government the power to create laws. But does that mean that Congress actually writes all the laws that it passes?
A model bill (also called a model act, model law, or model legislation) is a proposed version of a bill meant to guide lawmakers as they draft what will take on the form that will be introduced to a legislative body for voting.
Sometimes the President does not want it to become a law. This can be the case when the President disagrees with a bill, or thinks it unnecessary, or feels that it does not align with his or her specific agenda for the country.
When the President vetoes a bill, it returns to the chamber of Congress that originated it. There, the President's objections are read aloud, and the body debates it again.
The process by which a bill becomes a law in a state is very similar to how it becomes a federal law in Congress.
Just as with a federal bill, at the state level it can "die" in committee, if the committee does not take any action. If it is revised and/or approved, it goes back to the legislative body for a Second Reading.
A filibuster is a very long speech that is intended to delay the process of a legislative assembly without technically breaking any rules.
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution about the filibuster. It became possible when the Senate removed a provision from its rules known as the previous question motion, which allowed a simple majority to force a vote on whatever question was under debate.
Before an idea can become a law, it is described in a document called a bill. Anyone in the country can write one.
Typically, before a sponsor will actually introduce a bill, he or she will want to ensure that other members of Congress will support it.
They can originate in either the House or the Senate, but ideas having to do with revenue always originate in the House of Representatives.
For both public and private bills, the process of becoming a law begins when a member of Congress introduces it to the House or the Senate.
How a Bill Becomes a Law
The series of events that needs to take place in order for a new law to be accepted and enforceable in the United States. The process of creating a law is long and arduous. The system of checks and balances, built into the constitution, makes sure that a law is well debated and long thought through by many people before it enforceable. The process starts when a Representative drafts and writes it (the finer points of the law to be). This Representative then seeks out other like-minded Representatives to support (sponsor) the bill. In this way they introduce it for consideration to Congress. It is then passed on to Congressional committees or subcommittees who are seen as experts in the area that the idea is concerned with. These committees further researches and evaluates the merits of such a law. They may make revisions to the document that they deem necessary. When a committee approves a bill, it is then sent to the House floor where it is debated upon and any final changes based on recommendations may be made. It is then voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives. If it is approved by a majority vote, the bill moves on for a vote at the Senate. It goes through all the same steps at the Senate that it went through in the House. Again, a majority is needed to pass it on to the President. If the President signs it then it becomes a law. The President can also send it back to the House for further revision or just do nothing.
Different laws govern residents of a state or country depending on their system of government. These regulations may differ, but the process of making and enacting these laws is usually the same. They start as a bill, a proposal to be debated by lawmakers.
A bill becomes a law after passing through the house of representatives or senate, a committee, congress, and the president. If the majority of officials who analyze, discuss, and vote on the bill approve of it, and if the president passes it, it will become a law.
Most steps a bill takes when becoming a law look easy, but they can be confusing. I have shed more light on each step to making a bill become law with this article. Keep reading to get the full explanation.
The Steps a Bill Undergoes to Become a Law
Before it becomes a law, it has to go through a lengthy, 6-step process. This process includes:
- Tdeation and creation.
- It gets presented to the legislature.
- Transfer for committee analysis.
- Analysis, debate, and voting of bills by Congress
- The second Congress group analyzes it.
- Submission for Presidential approval.
So, let's take a closer look at these steps and follow the entire process straight through to see how it can become a law.
1.Ideation and Creation
A bill usually starts as an idea from anyone at all. However, the hope of it becoming a law depends on a senator or representative serving in a chamber. The bill needs a senator or representative to present the idea to the House or Senate, explaining the problem and a probable solution.
Whoever presents that idea to the Senate or the House of Representatives is the bill's sponsor.
Sometimes, the bill's initiator may not exactly have a solution to the problem. In this case, they work with other senators to create a solution. A good example was when Tom Carper, a senator from Delaware, collaborated with George V. Voinovich from Ohio to create an energy bill.
2. Gets Presented to the Legislature
Whether the bill gets pushed by a single senator or multiple, it must go through other chamber members for discussions and amendments. Usually, there are two arms of the legislature, the Senate and the House of Representatives, known as the Congress.
Either arm of Congress can introduce and present, depending on the initiator. The person who submits the bill is known as the sponsor.
When a bill gets introduced to the Senate or house, it gets uploaded to the official website of Congress for public viewing.
3. Transfer for Committee Analysis
Every chamber already has a committee to focus on different areas that affect the populace. These committee members are chosen based on their experience, expertise, or interests in such topics.
The head of Congress refers the bill to a committee related to the subject matter or area of interest.
The goal of this committee is to analyze the bill to make necessary amendments. To do this analysis, they involve technical experts, lawyers, and policy analysts.
Sometimes, the committee may create a smaller committee to analyze it better.
4. Analysis, Debate, and Voting of Bill By Other Congress Members
After the committee has discussed and amended the bill, there will be another presentation to the house. This time, the sponsor will most likely give way for the committee head to give this presentation.
After the presentation, the house will discuss and debate the bill to make some changes before they vote.
The bill will pass as law in that chamber when more than half vote in support.
5. The Second Congress Group Also Analyzes It
Before a bill gets passed into law, both Congress groups must agree on it. Therefore, once it passes a part of congress, it gets transferred to the other chamber for further analysis and amendments.
Usually, the Senate and House of Representatives will create a conference committee to resolve the minor differences in the bill amendments from both sides.
6. Submission for Presidential Approval
No law goes into the legislation without approval from the President. After all the analysis from Congress, the President has to sign the bill into law.
There are three things the President can do when the bill gets to his office:
- The President can sign it and make it a law.
- The President can decline to sign the document because of some changes. This act by the President is widely known as a veto.
- The President snubs the bill, and the bill becomes law within ten days of submission. This act is a pocket veto.
Bills become laws by passing through every branch of the US government. If most of these officials approve of the bill, it moves to the executive branch, or president, for approval or veto. If the president does not veto the bill, it will become a law.