Legislation is the process or result of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ...
s by a
legislature A legislature is an assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. They are often contrasted with the executive and judicial powers of government. Laws enacted by legislatures are usually kno ...
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. ...
, or analogous
governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance over an organization or political entity. The most formal is a government, a body whose sole responsibility and authority is to make binding decisions in a taken g ...
. Before an item of legislation becomes law it may be known as a
bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote, paper cash (especially in the United States) * Bill (law), a proposed law put before a legislature * Invoice, commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer * Bill, a bird or animal's beak P ...
, and may be broadly referred to as "legislation" while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business. Legislation can have many purposes: to regulate, to authorize, to outlaw, to provide (funds), to sanction, to grant, to declare, or to restrict. It may be contrasted with a non-legislative act by an
executive Executive ( exe., exec., execu.) may refer to: Role or title * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief executive officer (CEO), one of the highest-ranking corporate officers (executives) or administrators ** Executive dire ...
or administrative body under the authority of a legislative act.


Legislation is usually proposed by a member of the legislature (e.g. a member of Congress or Parliament), or by the executive, whereupon it is debated by members of the legislature and is often amended before passage. Most large legislatures enact only a small fraction of the bills proposed in a given session. Whether a given bill will be proposed is generally a matter of the legislative priorities of the government. Legislation is regarded as one of the three main functions of government, which are often distinguished under the doctrine of the
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. The typica ...
. Those who have the formal power to ''create'' legislation are known as
legislator A legislator (also known as a deputy or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are often elected by the people of the state. Legislatures may be supra-national (for e ...
s; a urtication of government will have the formal power to ''interpret'' legislation (see
statutory interpretation Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is often necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and a straightforward meani ...
); the
executive branch The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a state. In political syste ...
of government can act only within the powers and limits set by the law, which is the instrument by which the fundamental powers of government are established.

Dead letter

The term " dead letter" refers to legislation that has not been revoked, but that has become inapplicable or obsolete, or is no longer enforced.Dead Letter

See also

* Rule according to higher law


External links

Most-Viewed Bills on Congress.gov
{{Authority control * Politics Legislatures Law by type