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How an idea becomes a law

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AN IDEA IS DEVELOPED. A legislator draws from numerous sources in deciding what should be introduced in the Legislature as a bill. Major sources of ideas come from constituents, government agencies, special interest groups, lobbyists, the Governor, and the legislator.

THE BILL IS DRAFTED. The idea is submit­ted to the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, a nonpartisan legislative staff office, in the form of a bill request. The assigned bill drafting attorney reviews exist­ing law, researches the issues, and prepares the bill in proper technical form. The bill is given a number. A fiscal review is conducted and a “Fiscal Note” is attached. The bill is also reviewed for statutory or constitutional concerns.

THE BILL IS INTRODUCED. The bill is intro­duced into the Legislature and referred to the Rules Committee.

THE BILL RECEIVES STANDING COMMITTEE REVIEW AND PUBLIC INPUT. The Rules Committee recommends to the presiding officer the standing committee to which the bill should be referred. The standing commit­tee, in an open meeting, reviews the bill and receives public testimony. The committee may amend, hold, table, substitute, or make a favorable recommendation on the bill. 

THE BILL IS RETURNED TO THE FLOOR. Following the committee hearing the bill is returned to the full house with a committee report. The committee reports the bill out favorably, favorably with amendments, substi­tuted, or that the bill has been tabled. 

THE BILL IS DEBATED IN OPEN SESSION. The bill is debated in open session. During floor debate, the bill can be amended or substi­tuted. It can be held (circled). In order for a bill to pass the House of Representatives, it must receive at least 38 votes. The bill must receive at least 15 votes in the Senate in order to pass.

THE BILL PASSES BOTH HOUSES IN THE LEGISLATURE. After the bill has gone through both houses, it is signed by both presiding of­ficers (the Senate President and the Speaker of the House).

THE BILL IS PREPARED FOR THE GOVERNOR’S ACTION. The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel prepares the bill in final form. This is called the “enrolled” bill.

THE BILL RECEIVES THE GOVERNOR’S ACTION. The enrolled bill is sent to the Governor for his action. He can either sign the bill, veto it, or allow it become law without his signature. 

THE BILL BECOMES EFFECTIVE. A bill enacted by the Legislature is effective 60 days fol­lowing adjournment, unless another date is specified in the bill.

Source: State of Utah

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