Student Guide to Lawmaking

Cartoon Bill Sitting by Building

Bill’s Journey to Becoming a Law

Proposing a New Law

Any Senate or General Assembly member may propose or sponsor a new law. Ideas for laws can come from many sources, such as citizens, interest groups, public officials, or the Governor.

People Raising Hands

Legislator’s Direction

At the legislator’s direction, the idea is written as a bill. The legislator may ask other legislators to become co-sponsors.

Cartoon Person Signing New Bill

Introduction of Bill

The bill is introduced when the Senate Secretary or General Assembly Clerk reads the bill’s number, sponsor, and title aloud during a legislative session.

People Introducing New Bill

Committees and Amendments

The bill is usually sent to a committee that studies it and makes changes if needed. These changes are called amendments. Committees have open meetings where the public may speak about the bill.

Person Signing back of Cartoon Bill

Back to the House

If the committee approves the bill, it is reported back to the House where it began, and its title is read again. This is the bill’s second reading.

Cartoon Person Holding a Clapperboard That Says Take 2Majority of Votes

When scheduled by the Senate President or General Assembly Speaker, the bill’s title is read for the third time, and it is debated and voted on. A bill passes if it receives a majority of votes (at least 21 in the Senate or 41 in the General Assembly).

People Tally Marking Yes or No for New Bill

Second House

The bill follows a similar path of first reading, committee consideration, second reading, third reading, and final passage in the second House. After both Houses agree on the bill, it is sent to the Governor. In most cases, the bill becomes law when signed by the Governor.

Person Introducing New Bill to the Governor


If the Governor rejects the bill, it is called a veto. Sometimes, the Governor will ask the Legislature to make changes to the bill. The Legislature may make the Governor’s changes. It is also possible for the Legislature to pass the vetoed bill in its original form with a two-thirds majority vote in both Houses. This is called overriding the veto.

Governor Tossing out New Bill