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FAQ's About How a Bill Becomes Law

1: A Bill Has Been Proposed. What Happens Next?

Initial bill proposals are really just concept bills with general language. Hundreds of bill will be proposed at the beginning of session, often about the same topics. The bills are referred to the appropriate committee, which then decides whether or not to take up the bill or possibly combine it with other similar bills. The committee may have the bill drafted into legal language before bringing it up for a public hearing. Or, the committee could choose to have a "subject matter hearing" in which the general concept of the bill is put out for public comment and debate.

2. How Can My Voice be Heard at a Public Hearing?

Any member of the public is able to make his or her voice heard at a public hearing. When the public hearing is scheduled, members of the public show up to the public hearing, give their opinion to lawmakers and answer any questions committee members may have. Individuals can also submit written testimony through the committee's webpage. After the public hearing the committee will vote whether or not to pass the bill out of committee.

3. The Bill Has Passed out of Committee, What Happens Next?

Depending on the nature of the bill and if there will be any significant costs associated with the legislation, it may be referred to a second committee. Otherwise, the bill will be checked for constitutionality and consistency with law. The Office of Fiscal Analysis will determined the costs associated with the bill and the Office of Legislative Research will produce a "plain English" explanation of the bill. The clerk then assigns the bill a number and it can then be taken up for a vote in either the House or Senate.

4. If One Chamber Passes the Bill, Then What?

If the bill passes in one chamber, it is then referred to the other chamber. This does not necessarily mean it will be voted on, however. Amendments to the bill may be debated and added, and the bill may have to be referred to another committee. However, if both chambers agree on the bill and all its amendments, the bill is then sent to the governor for approval or veto. A governor's veto can be overruled by a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate.

About Us

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy Studies is a research and citizen education organization founded in 1984 under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. As one of America’s oldest state-based think tanks, Yankee develops and advocates for free market, limited government public policy solutions in Connecticut.

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Yankee Institute for Public Policy
216 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Phone: 860-282-0722

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy