Journey from an Idea to a Bill
Ideas for bills come from many places. We will use the “OFMF bills” listed on our Bill Tracking page as examples. LINK
- OFMF leadership and supporters had ideas that would help to preserve bodily autonomy and parental rights. They wrote them up and gave them to our lobbyist.
- Our lobbyist spoke with legislators on both the House and Senate sides of the legislature to find people willing to “sponsor” the bills.
- The “sponsor” of a bill sends the written idea, known as a “legislative concept” at this point, to the “Legislative Council.” The Legislative Council is a team of attorneys working for the legislature who, among other things, take legislative concepts and rewrite them in proper legal language for a bill and also give them a bill number. This process is sometimes lengthy and tedious when the concepts get rewritten in ways that they lose their original meaning, necessitating several drafts.
- Once the concept is satisfactorily drafted, it gets a number and is ready for its next step!
Journey of a Bill to a Law
Once a concept becomes a bill, it gets assigned to a committee.
These committees discuss and vote on the bills and possibly make amendments. Public hearings can be a part of this process. The public can participate in hearings by submitting written testimonies online or speaking directly to committee members during the hearing.
If the majority of the members of a committee or the chair/s don’t agree with a bill, they can keep a bill from even being heard in the committee. The deadline for the 2023 legislative session for a bill to be heard by its committee is March 17. If it hasn’t been heard by then, it’s considered “dead,” and it won’t get any further.
That’s why many of our calls to action are to contact committee members asking them to hear a bill.
If a bill gets passed by its committee, it then goes to the floor to be voted on by the respective legislators (House or Senate). At this point, we constituents can write or call our legislators to let them know how we’d like them to vote.
If a bill passes the Senate, it then goes to the House and the process begins again. (Likewise, bills that have passed the House then go to the Senate.)
Bills that pass both the House and the Senate go to the Governor to be signed in to law (unless she vetoes it).
Cue Schoolhouse Rock! (Sorry; couldn’t resist!) Btw, there are similarities and differences between how this works at a federal level and at our state level.