Overview of the Pennsylvania Legislative Process
The first step in creating a Pennsylvania legislative history is understanding the Pennsylvania legislative process. The Pennsylvania state legislature is called the Pennsylvania General Assembly. There are two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
This is a summary overview of the Pennsylvania legislative process:
Step 1: The idea for a bill is conceived and developed by one or more legislators.
Step 2: At the request of the sponsoring legislator(s), the text of the bill is drafted by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Step 3: Chief Clerk of House (or Senate) assigns a bill number to the bill.
Step 4: Speaker of House (or President Pro Tempore of Senate) assigns the bill to a standing committee.
Step 5: The Committee considers the bill, holds hearings, takes evidence, and decides whether to support the bill.
Step 6: If the Committee supports bill, it is presented to the entire chamber (House or Senate) on three separate days for consideration.
Step 7: If the bill (1) requires an expenditure of funds or (2) results in a loss of revenue for the Commonwealth, the bill must be sent to the Appropriations Committee while it is being considered. The Appropriations Committee provides a fiscal note for each bill it receives that indicates how much the law would cost the Commonwealth if enacted.
Step 8: During its days of consideration, legislators may debate or comment on the bill. These debates and comments are recorded in the House and Senate Journals.
Step 9: On the third day of consideration, the entire chamber votes on the bill.
Step 10: If the chamber approves the bill, it is sent to the other chamber for approval – Steps 4 through 8 are repeated.
Step 12: Once both chambers have passed identical versions of the bill, it is sent to the Governor.
Step 13: If the Governor signs the bill, it becomes law and is given at “Act” number.