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Bill Process

11 STEPS FROM IDEA TO LAW FOR THE IDAHO LEGISLATURE

  1. The Concept.  It all starts with an idea.  The idea can come from anyone – a legislator, a lobbyist for a business or special interest group, or any citizen.  But you have to convince a lawmaker to carry it.
  2. A Draft of Proposed Legislation.  Lobbyists can write their own proposals, but most bills are drafted by staffers in the Legislative Services Office under direction of legislators.  These are the experts in drafting legislation.
  3. Printing.  To be officially introduced, a bill must have a legislative sponsor and the OK of a House or Senate committee, often after a short meeting with no public comment.  Tax and budget bills must start in specific committees.
  4. Initial Reading.  New bills are given a number, three digits in the House and four in the Senate, and then read over the floor of the body that introduced it.   These days, the clerks read only the number and the title of the bills and not the full measures, which sometimes numbers dozens of pages.
  5. Committee Hearings.  House and Senate majority leaders assign every bill to their respective committees and the chairs of these panels can decide whether and when to hold a public hearing on each measure.  These hearings allow the public to speak out, and the committee can kill the bill here or send it to the floor of the full House or Senate.
  6. Second and Third Readings.  The system is slow on purpose.  Once a bill is sent to the floor, it has to be read on the floor two more times, on different days.  That gives the public and even legislators a chance to learn more about it.  Of course, all rules can be modified, and they often are.  Near the end of the session, the House and Senate can speed up the process by skipping the second and third readings.  It takes a two-thirds majority, but a bill can be drafted, printed and passed in one afternoon.
  7. The Votes.  After the third reading, the bill is up for a vote.  The sponsor will describe the measure, and the floor debate will begin.  The House votes with an electronic system, and the Senate with an old-fashioned roll call.
  8. Amendments.  At any time the bill is waiting for a floor vote, a majority of lawmakers can amend it.  The changes are made on the floor, but in a special order of business generally reserved until several bills are ready for amendments.
  9. The Other Chamber.  To pass, every bill must go before the House and the Senate.  Their procedures are similar, and when one chamber approves a measure, the process starts all over again across the Statehouse rotunda.
  10. The Governor.  Once a bill is approved by the House and the Senate, it goes to the Governor’s desk.  The Governor can sign it, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it and send it back to the Legislature.  But a veto isn’t necessarily final.  If two-thirds of the House and Senate vote to override the veto, the bill becomes law anyway.
  11. The New Law.  Most bills become law on July 1.  That gives the state agencies that have to enforce the laws enough time to get ready.  Lawmakers can write an “emergency clause”, though, that starts the law as soon as the Governor signs the bill.
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WHAT IS ICMS?

  • A Watchdog on the federal, state and local legislatures, protecting your rights to ride.
  • Your information source, with newsletters, board meetings and information meetings.
  • A major force in promoting positive motorcycle legislation and motorcycle safety.
  • An organization dedicated to fostering brotherhood and mutual benefits for members.

WHAT ICMS IS NOT

  • A motorcycle club.
  • Anti-helmet.
  • A Secret society.
  • A fraternal organization.
  • Afraid to take a position.
  • A branch of government.
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