Glossary Of Terms

Bill stripping: Substituting a completely new bill under the title of an old bill. Now prohibited unless the author of the original bill agrees.

Committee report: After the bill has been considered by the committee (with or without a public hearing) it may kill the bill, recommend passage, amend or make no recommendation to the parent house. Committee votes are recorded and are public information.

Constitutional majority: 51 votes in the House, 26 votes in the Senate. Required for final passage of a bill, concurrence on an amendment from another house and adoption of a committee report.

Engrossment: Reprinting of an amended bill.

Enrollment: After the bill has passed both houses, it is printed, signed by the Speaker of the House and then the President of the Senate and sent to the governor.

Introduction and first reading: The reading by the clerk of the respective house of the number, title, author and committee referral of each filed or pre-filed bill. No vote is taken. Bills can be introduced 30 days prior to the beginning of the session and up to the 22nd day of the session, unless suspension of the rules is obtained.

Reconsideration: Bills that have received a plurality but not a constitutional majority, and under other special circumstances, can be “reconsidered.” This is typically a tactic used to kill a bill by moving to “reconsider” and then voting to table the motion to reconsider, or to revive a bill that has been killed.

Resolution: There are three types of resolutions:

  • Simple – A motion passed by a majority of a single house which has no title, is usually adopted by voice vote, is only in effect until the Assembly adjourns and is usually a recognition or expression of sympathy;
  • Concurrent – A simple resolution that has been adopted by both houses;
  • Joint – Passage requires the same procedure as bills (except it may be passed on any reading), must be passed in a recorded vote by a constitutional majority, usually goes into effect as soon as it passes both houses, is signed by the presiding officers and does not require the signature of the Governor. An amendment to the Indiana Constitution must be passed by two successively elected Assemblies and ratified by the people. For example, any proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution passed by the 2003 General Assembly cannot be considered for the second time until the newly elected Assembly meets in 2005 and then must be placed on the ballot for ratification.

Second reading: After the Committee has made a report, bills are considered in the order in which the reports were filed in the House, but are called down for consideration by a member of the Senate. To be eligible for second reading, a bill must be printed and on the member’s desk for 24 hours in the House and 48 hours in the Senate. Bills may be amended or stripped and are passed (or killed) by voice vote. However, two members can request a roll call vote in the House, one member in the Senate.

Third reading: At this point the author or sponsor of the bill explains and asks for support for the measure. Floor debate occurs on the entire bill. Final passage is by constitutional majority and roll call vote. In the 61-day session, bills must be considered for third reading by the 48th day in the house of origination and by the 56th day for bills from the other house.

Taken from: Melinda Rider, unpublished paper “Legislating Hoosier Style” 1987