LEAGUE of WOMEN VOTERS
CENTRAL KANE COUNTY
Copyright © League of Women Voters: Central Kane County. All Rights Reserved.
HOW A BILL BECOMES LAW IN ILLINOIS
Illinois has 59 Senate districts, with one senator elected from each. Each Senate district covers two House of Representative districts, totaling 118 members in the House. Both chambers adopt rules for their conduct at the start of each session. Regular session is held January through May of each year, unless the chambers adopt an earlier or later timeline. Veto sessions are held every fall. While those specific rules may change slightly from session to session, the basic track a bill follows to become a law is explained below.
Introduction/First Reading - A legislator has an idea drafted into bill form and submits a copy to the Clerk of his or her chamber for introduction. The bill is assigned a number and is introduced through a first reading of the bill.
Committee Assignment - After the first reading, the bill is assigned to the appropriate committee. Committee members are advised by staff members on what the bill does and who supports and opposes it. The bill is posted for a hearing date. Opponents and supporters have an opportunity to give testimony at this stage. The committee votes to pass the bill out of committee or to hold it in committee, which stops the bill.
Second Reading - A bill passed out of committee goes to the floor for second reading. Any amendments are debated and voted on before advancing to third reading.
Third Reading - This is the passage stage. The bill will be debated and either passed or returned to second reading if further amendments are added. A roll call is taken and a majority is needed for passage.
Consent Calendar - A bill which is considered generally acceptable can be placed on the consent calendar, where agreement can pass several bills on one roll call. The bill is now ready to cross over to the other chamber where it will travel the same path.
Conference Committee - A bill which is amended in the second chamber must be sent back to the first chamber for agreement. If agreement is denied, the bill may be referred to a conference committee. Concurrence may be achieved through a conference committee which is appointed to resolve differences between the two chambers on amendments to an otherwise approved bill. The bill will pass if the majority of members in each chamber agree on a conference committee report.
Shell Bill - A bill with little description that may be used as a vehicle for substantive legislation.
Passed Both Chambers- A bill which has passed both chambers must be presented to the Governor within 30 days of its passage. The Governor has 60 days beyond that to take action.
Governor Action -The bill, having passed both chambers, is sent to the Governor for approval. The Governor has four options.
1. The bill becomes Law if the Governor signs the bill. (or if there is no action by the Governor after 60 days).
2. The Governor may amend the bill - this is an amendatory veto.
3. Appropriation bills can be line item or reduction vetoed. (An appropriation biIl is one that authorizes a state agency to spend money.)
4. The Governor may totally veto the bill.
Veto Override- The General Assembly may override the Governor's changes by a 3/5 majority vote of both chambers which passes the bill approved originally by both chambers into law. If the General Assembly fails to override the Governor's veto, the bill dies. If both chambers concur with the Governor's changes, by a full majority vote (one half - plus one) the bill becomes law as changed by the Governor. If the General Assembly fails to concur, the biII dies.