A primer on how the Utah Legislature works

Here is the basic course on how a bill becomes law:

If it originates in the House, it is numbered with:

  • HB — House Bill (intended to become a law)
  • HR — House Resolution (Defines a House procedure. No gubernatorial signature is required.)
  • HJR — House Joint Resolution (Along with the Senate, develops full Legislature rules. Can also be used to begin constitutional amendments. No gubernatorial signature is required.)
  • HCR — House Concurrent Resolution (Used to express the position of the state on a specific matter with gubernatorial signature)

It is introduced in the House and it goes to the House rules committee for prioritizing and assignment to a standing House committee.

The assigned committee hears testimony on the bill and votes to pass it out favorably or to table it or to hold it.

If the bill passes out favorably, it goes to the House floor. Every bill must be “read” 3 times before a final vote. The introduction of the bill counts as one, when it comes out of committee, it is placed on the 2nd reading calendar and it is “read” again and placed on the 3rd reading calendar.

Once a bill is on the 3rd reading calendar, three things can happen:

  • Negative vote and it is defeated,
  • Positive vote and it is sent to the Senate to repeat the entire process in the Senate, or
  • “Circled” which means it is placed on hold indefinitely.

The same thing happens in the Senate. Bills are numbered with SB, SR, SCR, SJR when they originate in the Senate

Senate bills must pass the Senate first and then the House.

Once a bill has passed in BOTH houses it goes to the governor, who can either sign it into law, veto it, or let it sit on his/her desk to become law without a signature.

A vetoed bill can still become law if the legislature holds a Veto Override Session in May and votes for the bill with a 2/3 majority.

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