Primer: How a bill moves through the Legislature

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By the Cowboy State Daily

The journey of a bill through Wyoming’s Legislature involves several reviews by both the Senate and House, along with reviews by committees, after it is filed with the Legislative Service Office. It will be sent to the governor for his approval to become law only if approved at each step. Here are the steps for a bill to become law:

1. Introduction — The first review or “First Reading” of a bill in its originating chamber. If approved by a majority of the chamber’s members, the bill is sent to a committee for review.

2. Committee review — The members of the committee review and vote on whether the bill should move forward. They can also recommend changes or “amendments” to the bill.

3. Committee of the Whole — After committee approval, the bill is discussed in front of all members of the chamber in what is called the “Committee of the Whole.” Legislators then decide whether to proceed with the bill, kill it or amend it.

4. Second Reading — After being approved by the Committee of the Whole, legislators decide during the Second Reading whether the bill should proceed to a third and final reading.

5. Third Reading — The final review of a bill in either the House or Senate. The bill can be amended, killed or passed.When a bill is approved in its third reading in one chamber, it is sent to the other and the review process begins again.After its review in the second chamber, the bill must clear several more steps:

Concurrence — When a bill has cleared its second chamber, it is sent back to its originating chamber for review. Any changes made in the second chamber must be approved by members of the first. If no changes have been made or if the changes are approved, the bill is sent to the governor for his signature, when it becomes law.

Conference Committee — If changes made by the second chamber are rejected, a Conference Committee — made up of three senators and three representatives — can be formed to iron out any differences. Each chamber is then asked to approve the Conference Committee’s report. If the report is rejected, another conference committee can formed. If accepted, the bill is sent to the governor for his signature.

Veto and Override — If the governor vetoes a bill, the veto can be “overridden” by a two-thirds vote of each chamber, meaning the bill will become law without the governor’s signature.

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