How are Bills Submitted by Legislators and Committees ?


In odd-year sessions, members of the General Assembly may file proposed bills and resolutions in the chamber (House or Senate) in which they serve. In even-year sessions, individual legislators may introduce only those proposed bills and resolutions that are of a fiscal nature. Standing committees may introduce bills on any topic in any regular session of the General Assembly.

Proposed bills are not written in full statutory language. Rather, they state briefly (usually in a single paragraph), the substance of the proposed legislation in informal, non-statutory language. Only a committee may introduce bills written in formal statutory language.

A member may present a proposed bill to the Clerk of the House or Senate who assigns it a bill number. Each proposed bill is eventually referred to a committee for their consideration.

A committee then separates the proposed bills referred to it into subject categories and, after providing legislators with time to express their views on these proposed bills, prepares fully drafted bills on those subjects on which it feels bills should be drafted. These become “committee” bills drafted in formal statutory language. A committee may also choose to draft a bill on a wholly new subject. Such bills are called “raised” bills. The majority of proposed bills are not acted on by the committee and are not drafted into a committee bill. The proposed bill is then considered “dead” in the committee.

Each committee has strict deadlines that must be followed when considering bills. Any bill, even if it had a public hearing, is considered to have “died” in committee if not reported out by the committee deadline. This deadline is called the “JF” (Joint Favorable) deadline. The ‘JF” deadline for each committee can be viewed by clicking here (see column 8 of the chart).