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How does a bill become a law?

To become law, a bill must be passed by both the House and Senate. If a Senate bill is amended by the House, it is sent back to the Senate for a vote.

  • If the Senate concurs with amendments made by the House, the bill is sent to the governor.
  • If the Senate non-concurs, it may request a Committee of Conference. The president of the Senate and the Speaker of the House then appoint members of the Conference Committee. All the members of the Conference Committee must sign the compromise they reach.  Often, if a member will not sign, that member is replaced by the presiding officer who made the appointment.
  • If the Senate does not concur with the House's amendments and does not request a Committee of Conference, the bill dies.

This process works the same way for House bills amended by the Senate, with the roles reversed.
After passage by both houses, the bill is sent to the Enrolled Bills Committee, which, using legislative services staff, examines the bill for technical errors like misspelling or incorrect citations. If errors are found, the bodies must vote on the bill again. After the final vote by both houses, the bill goes to the secretary of state, who sends it to the governor, who has five days (excluding Sundays and holidays) to act on it. The governor can:

  • Veto the bill.
  • Do nothing. If the Legislature is in session, the bill becomes law without the governor’s signature. If the Legislature is not in session, the bill dies. This is known as a "pocket veto."
  • Sign the bill, making it law.

If the governor vetoes a bill, the Legislature may overturn the veto by a vote of two-thirds of those present in both the House and Senate. This is the second way a bill may become law.


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