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A bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an '' act of the legislature'', or a ''
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
''. Bills are introduced in the legislature and are discussed, debated and voted upon.


Usage

The term ''bill'' is primarily used in Anglophone United Kingdom, the parts of a bill are known as ''clauses'', until it has become an act of parliament, from which time the parts of the law are known as ''sections''. In Napoleonic law nations (including
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
), a proposed law may be known as a "law project" (Fr. ''projet de loi''), which is a government-introduced bill, or a "law proposition" (Fr. ''proposition de loi''), a private member's bill. For example the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...

Dutch
parliamentary system does not make this terminological distinction (''wetsontwerp'' and ''wetsvoorstel'' being used interchangeably).


Preparation

Bills generally include
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...

title
s, enacting provisions, statements of intent,
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...

definition
s, substantive provisions, transitional clauses, and dates which the bill will be put into effect. The preparation of a bill may involve the production of a draft bill prior to the introduction of the bill into the legislature. In the United Kingdom, draft bills are frequently considered to be confidential. Pre-legislative scrutiny is a formal process carried out by a parliamentary committee on a draft bill. In
Parliament of India The Parliament of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scien ...
, the draft bill is sent to individual ministry relating to the matter. From there the bill goes to
Ministry of Law and Justice (India) The Ministry of Law and Justice in the Government of India The Government of India (ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organi ...
and then is passed on to Cabinet committee which is headed by
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...

Prime Minister
. is required in much of Scandinavia, occurs in Ireland at the discretion of the Oireachtas (parliament) and occurs in the UK at the government's discretion. In the
Parliament of Ireland The Parliament of Ireland ( ga, Parlaimint na hÉireann) was the of the , and later the , from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the and from 1537 comprised two chambers: the and the . The Lords were members of the (’’) and bisho ...
under Poynings' Law (1494–1782) legislation had to be pre-approved by the
Privy Council of Ireland His or Her Majesty's Privy Council in Ireland, commonly called the Privy Council of Ireland, Irish Privy Council, or in earlier centuries the Irish Council, was the institution within the Dublin Castle administration The Upper Courtyard of Dublin ...
and
Privy Council of England The Privy Council of England, also known as His (or Her) Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (), was a body of advisers to the sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrow ...
, so in practice each bill was substantively debated as "heads of a bill", then submitted to the privy councils for approval, and finally formally introduced as a bill and rejected or passed unamended.


Introduction

In the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
, where the executive is drawn from the legislature and usually holds a majority in the lower house, most bills are introduced by the executive ( government bill). In principle, the legislature meets to consider the demands of the executive, as set out in the
Queen's Speech A speech from the throne (or throne speech) is an event in certain monarchies in which the reigning sovereign, or a representative thereof, reads a prepared speech to members of the nation’s legislature when a legislative session, session is ...
or ''Speech from the Throne''. While mechanisms exist to allow other members of the legislature to introduce bills, these are subject to strict timetables and usually fail unless a consensus is reached. In the US system, where the executive is formally separated from the legislature, all bills must originate from the legislature. Bills can be introduced using the following procedures: *Leave: A motion is brought before the chamber asking that leave be given to bring in a bill. This is used in the British system in the form of the ''
Ten Minute Rule The Ten Minute Rule, also known as Standing Order No. 23, is a procedure in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for the introduction of Private Members' Bills in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Private Member's Bills in addition to the 20 p ...
'' motion. The legislator has 10 minutes to propose a bill, which can then be considered by the House on a day appointed for the purpose. While this rule remains in place in the rules of procedure of the US Congress, it is seldom used. *Government motion: In jurisdictions where the executive can control legislative business a bill may be brought in by
executive fiat Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government) The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government that enforces law, and has Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance ...
.


Legislative stages

Bills are generally considered through a number of readings. This refers to the historic practice of the clerical officers of the legislature reading the contents of a bill to the legislature. While the bill is no longer read, the motions on the bill still refer to this practice. In the British/Westminster system, for a new law to be made it starts off as a bill and has to go through the 7 stages of the legislative process. These are: First Reading, Second reading, Committee stage, Report Stage, Third Reading, Opposite House, and then Royal Assent. A bill is introduced usually by a
Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
(MP) in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
or by a member of the
House Of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House Of Lords
. There will be a first reading of the bill, in which the proposition in the bill is read out, but there is minimal discussion and no voting. After this there is a second reading of the bill, in which the bill is presented in more detail and it is discussed between the MPs or Lords. The third stage is the committee stage, in which a committee is gathered. This may include MPs, Lords, professionals and experts in the field, and other people who the bill may affect. The purpose of this stage is to go into more detail on the bill and gather expert opinions on it (e.g. teachers may be present in a committee about a bill that would affect the education system) and amendments may be brought. After this is the report stage, in which the entire house reviews any and all changes made to the bill since its conception and may bring further amendments. The fifth stage is the third reading of the bill, in which the full bill is read out in the house along with all amendments and is given final approval by the House. The next stage is where the bill is handed over to the opposite house for approval. (If it started in the House of Commons it will be handed to the House of Lords and vice versa.) Here the bill will go through the exact same process as before, with amendments able to be brought. If amendments are brought the bill will again be handed to the opposite house, going through the same process, which repeats until both houses arrive at an agreement on the bill. (In the rare circumstance that the two houses cannot agree, the House of Commons has the final say as it is an elected body, whereas the House Of Lords is not). Once the bill is finalized, it will move to the final stage, Royal Assent. In this the piece of legislation is given to the Monarch (currently
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
) to give her royal assent for the bill to become law. Though the monarch does have the right to refuse to do so, the monarch is only able to see the short title of bill, for example, they would only be able to see " Offensive Weapons Act 2019". Once the assent is granted the law comes into effect at the date and time specified within the act, if this is not specified within the act, it will come into effect at midnight on the same day it was granted royal assent. In
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
, for a law to be made it starts off as a bill and has to go through various stages. There will be "first reading" of the bill where minister takes leave from the house and introduces title and objectives of the bill. Here, no discussion or voting takes place. And then the bill is published in
Gazette of India ''The Gazette of India'' is a public journal and an authorised legal document of the Government of India, published weekly by the Department of Publication, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. As a public journal, the ''Gazette'' prints offi ...

Gazette of India
. After this there is a "second reading" of the bill, where the bill receives its final shape. 1) The bill first go through the 'stage of general discussion' where the bill is referred to select committee/ joint committee for detailed scrutiny through a motion. 2) Under 'committee stage' the bill is scrutinized in detail in the committee and a report is submitted in the respective house. 3) Under 'consideration stage' the bill is discussed in detail in the house and is voted upon. Then under "third reading" the bill is voted upon as a whole and if majority of the house present and voting favours the bill, then the bill is considered passed and is authenticated by presiding officer. Now, the bill is passed to the other house for its consideration. And if both houses agree, finally bill reaches the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
where he can assent, withhold assent, return for consideration and can also sit on the bill.


Enactment and after

Where a piece of
primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislatur ...
is termed an act, the process of a bill becoming law may be termed enactment. Once a bill is passed by the legislature, it may automatically become law, or it may need further approval, in which case enactment may be effected by the approver's
signature A signature (; from la, signare, "to sign") is a handwritten (and often stylized) depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" or other mark that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a s ...

signature
or
proclamation A proclamation (Lat. ''proclamare'', to make public by announcement) is an official declaration issued by a person of authority to make certain announcements known. Proclamations are currently used within the governing framework of some nations ...

proclamation
.


Approval

Bills passed by the legislature usually require the approval of the executive such as the monarch, president, or governor to become law. Exceptions are the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
from the abolition of the Governor-General in December 1936 to the creation of the office of
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
in December 1937, and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
from its formation until today, during which period bills approved by the
Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, count ...
and
Knesset The Knesset ( he, הַכְּנֶסֶת ; "gathering" or "assembly") is the unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber ...

Knesset
respectively became/become law immediately (though, in Israel's case, the laws are ceremonially signed after their passage by the President). In
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
s, approval of the executive is normally a formality since the head of state is directed by an executive controlled by the legislature. In
constitutional monarchies A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated el ...
, this approval is called royal assent. In rare cases, approval may be refused or "reserved" by the head of state's use of a
reserve power In a parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ' ...
. The legislature may have significantly less power to introduce bills on such issues and may require the approval beforehand. In
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s the
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
informs this. In the United Kingdom, for example, cases include payments to the royal family, succession to the throne, and the monarch's exercise of prerogative powers. In
presidential system A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government (President (government title), president) leads an Executive (government), executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch in s ...
s, the need to receive approval can be used as a political tool by the executive, and its refusal is known as a ''
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
''. The legislature may be able to override the veto by means of a
supermajority A supermajority, supra-majority, qualified majority, or special majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a majority A majority, also calle ...
vote. In some jurisdictions, a bill passed by the legislature may also require approval by a
constitutional court A constitutional court is a high court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Ad ...

constitutional court
. If the court finds the bill would violate the
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
it may annul it or send it back to the legislature for correction. In Ireland, the President has discretion under Article 26 of the Constitution to refer bills to the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
. In Germany, the
Federal Constitutional Court The Federal Constitutional Court (german: Bundesverfassungsgericht; abbreviated: ') is the supreme constitutional court for the Federal Republic of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , ...
has discretion to rule on bills. Some bills may require approval by
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
. In Ireland this is obligatory for bills to amend the constitution; it is possible for other bills via a process that has never been used.


Afterwards

A bill may come into force as soon as it becomes law, or it may specify a later date to come into force, or it may specify by whom and how it may be brought into force; for example, by
ministerial order A ministerial decree or ministerial order is a decree A decree is a rule of law usually issued by a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. ...
. Different parts of an act may come into force at different times. An act is typically
promulgated Promulgation is the formal proclamation or the declaration that a new statute, statutory or administrative law is enacted after its final Enactment of a bill, approval. In some jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions, this additional step is necessary b ...
by being published in an
official gazette A government gazette (also known as an official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that has been authorised to publish public or legal notices. It is usually establish ...
. This may be required on enactment, coming into force, or both.


Numbering of bills

Legislatures give bills numbers as they progress. In the United States, all bills originating in the House of Representatives begin with "H.R." and all bills originating from the Senate begin with an "S.". Every two years, at the start of odd-numbered years, the United States Congress recommences numbering from 1, though for bills the House has an order reserving the first 20 bill numbers and the Senate has similar measures for the first 10 bills. Joint resolutions also have the same effect as bills, and are titled as "H. J. Res." or "S. J. Res." depending on whether they originated in the House or Senate, respectively. This means that two different bills can have the same number. Each two-year span is called a ''congress'', tracking the terms of Representatives elected in the nationwide biennial House of Representatives elections, and each congress is divided into year-long periods called ''sessions''. In the United Kingdom, for example, the Coroners and Justice Act in 2009 started as Bill 9 in the House of Commons. Then it became Bill 72 on consideration by the Committee, after that it became House of Lords Bill 33. Then it became House of Lords Bill 77, returned to the House of Commons as Bill 160 before finally being passed as Act no. 29. Parliament recommences numbering from one at the beginning of each session. This means that two different bills may have the same number. Sessions of parliament usually last a year. They begin with the
State Opening of Parliament#REDIRECT State Opening of Parliament The State Opening of Parliament is an event which formally marks the beginning of a session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty ...
, and end with
Prorogation Prorogation in politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process re ...
. In the Irish
Oireachtas The Oireachtas ( , ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, count ...
, bills are numbered sequentially from the start of each calendar year. Bills originating in the Dáil and Seanad share a common sequence. There are separate sequences for public and private bills, the latter prefixed with "P". Although acts to amend the constitution are outside the annual sequence used for other public acts, bills to amend the constitution are within the annual sequence of public bills.For example
the list of Oireachtas bills for 2002
includes numbers 31 and 32 (constitutional amendments) 45 and 47 (originating in Seanad) 46 (originating in Dáil) and P1 (private).


See also

*
Legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgating law by a legislature, parliament, or analogous Government, governing body. Before an item of legislation becomes law ...
*
List of legislatures by country This is a list of legislatures by country. A "legislature" is the generic name for the national parliaments and congresses that act as a plenary general Deliberative assembly, assembly of Representative democracy, representatives and that have th ...
''(most legislature articles have information on their processes)'' *
Resolution (law) In law, a resolution is a written motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), position over time. Motion is math ...
*
White paper A white paper is a report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Exis ...

White paper
*United States **
Bill (United States Congress) In the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in ...
**
Procedures of the United States Congress Procedure may refer to: * Medical procedureA medical procedure is a course of action intended to achieve a result in the delivery of healthcare. A medical procedure with the intention of determining, measuring, or diagnosing a patient condition o ...
*
Private bill Proposed bills are often categorized into public bills and private bills. A public bill is a proposed law which would apply to everyone within its jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin ''Wikt:ius#Latin, juris'' 'law' + ''Wikt:dictio, dictio'' ...


References


External links


Hong Kong


Bills Committees of the Legislative Council


India


The Indian Constitution



Ireland


How laws are made

Find bills and acts
(since 1922; partial)
Bills
(since 1997; complete)


New Zealand


Parliamentary Counsel Office—Terminology: What are Acts, Bills, regulations, and Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs)?

List of current bills


United Kingdom

*UK Parliament Guide
Passage of a Bill
*BBC Parliament Guide:
Making new law

Types of bill

Bill procedure

First reading

Second reading

Commons committee stage

Lords committee stage

Report stage

Third reading

Passage through the other House

Royal assent

Delegated legislation


United States



at
THOMAS Thomas may refer to: People * List of people with given name Thomas * Thomas (name) * Thomas (surname) * Saint Thomas (disambiguation) * Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, and Doctor of the Church * Thomas the Apo ...

THOMAS

Government 101: How a bill becomes a law
at
Project Vote Smart Vote Smart, formerly called Project Vote Smart, is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States. It covers candidates and elected officials in six ...

Federal legislation
at
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How a law is made
at the
North Carolina General Assembly The North Carolina General Assembly is the bicameral legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social re ...
{{Authority control Statutory law Legislatures