The Legislature in Action: How A Bill Becomes A Law in Nevada
By: Salma Granich
June 3, 2019
With the end of the Nevada Legislature recently coming to an end, various bills introduced to the legislature became laws. But how exactly does this process happen? The Nevada Legislature is made up two houses, the Assembly and the Senate. Every two years, the Nevada Legislature meets for 120 days, starting on the first Monday in February after the election of the members and ending around June. This year, the 80th Nevada Legislative session convened in February 4th, 2019 and adjourned on June 3rd, 2019.
- Bill is Drafted: The process begins when either a Legislator or a state/governmental agency introduces an idea for a bill. This idea is drafted in a suitable form that includes all the proper terminology. The bill must be concise, understandable and unambiguous in order to comply with the U.S Constitution and Nevada State Constitution.
Constitutional Rules: As required by the Nevada Constitutional Rules, each bill must be read three times and on three separate days. Any deviation from this Constitutional requirement must be passed by a two-thirds vote from the members of the house to do so.
- Introduction/ First Reading: After a bill is drafted, it is introduced by a Legislator or a Legislative Standing Committee in one of the houses of the Legislature. It is read for the first time, assigned a number and referred to a committee.
- In Committee: After a bill is referred to a committee, the committee schedules a hearing to gather additional information about the bill, which can include taking testimony and summoning witnesses. After deliberation, the Committee may recommend that the House either pass or amend the bill.
- Second Reading/ Amendments: After a bill is reported out of Committee, is it read a second time. If there are no additional amendments proposed, the bill will not be debated, and it is ordered to the General File, where it will be read for the third time. If there are amendments proposed, they are considered and debated. If the amendments are adopted after a discussion, the bill is reprinted with the amended language and then ordered to the General File for its third reading. If the amendments fail, the original bill is ordered to the General File for its third reading.
- General File and Third Reading: On the third reading, the bill can be passed, rejected or further amended and it is debated by the full house.
- Passed: If the bill passes with the required two-thirds vote, it is sent to the other house of the Legislature, where it goes through the same process of introduction, first reading, committee referral and second and third reading.
- Rejected: If the bill is rejected, there is no further consideration, and it is considered dead.
- Amended: If the bill is amended at this time, the bill will be reprinted with the amended language and ordered to the General File for another consideration.
- Enrollment: After a bill passes both Houses, it is written in its final form and signed by officers of both houses and then submitted to the Governor.
- Governor’s Approval/Veto: The governor may sign the bill into law, veto it, or let the bill become a law without his signature. If the bill is vetoed, the bill returns to the legislature where a two-thirds vote of each House will override the Governor’s veto.