*The Missouri 97th General Assembly (GA) will be sworn in January 9. Soon thereafter the bills pre-filed will be introduced and on their way to various committees for public hearings. Thus will begin the multi-faceted, legislative bill-passing process. Below are the basic steps to how a bill becomes law:
1. A legislator requests a bill draft from the House Research department.
2. That legislator, the bill's sponsor, seeks co-sponsors by announcing the bill to House members.
3. A draft-copy and the required signature(s) are turned into the Chief Clerk and assigned a bill number.
4. The bill is "introduced" to the House via a "First Read" and ordered printed.
5. After the "Second Read" it is referred to the Speaker of the House for committee assignment. However, bills that do not get assigned die there!
6. Once assigned to a committee, it is up to the chairperson to schedule a public hearing. A fiscal note (the monetary result if the bill is passed into law) is prepared by the Oversight Committee once the committee chairperson schedules, announces and publically posts a hearing on the bill. A bill will die if the chairperson does not hold a public hearing. It might survive if one third members vote to relieve the bill from the committee to place it on the House Calendar.
7. Once a public hearing has been held, the committee chairperson can hold an "Executive Session" (ES) on the bill wherein committee members may further discuss, debate, amend and / or vote it "Do Pass" or not. The bill will die in committee if the chairperson never holds a vote during an ES; or if it is voted down during the ES; or it can die here if it is never turned into the Chief Clerk even though the committee passed it.
8. Most bills that survive the above steps are reported to the Rules committee, and yes it can die there too!
9. Once a bill is pass out of the Rules committee it will progress if is placed on the Perfection Calendar and be brought up for debate and a vote by House members.
10. A passing vote means it is perfected and will be Third Read at which time there can be neither further debate nor changes.
11. A final roll call vote is taken for passage before sent onto the Senate. As you can imagine the process for passage in the Senate is similar with a few exceptions.
12. If the bill passes both the House and Senate in identical form, it is enrolled and sent to the Governor for his signature. If it passes in a different form and the House agrees to the changes it is enrolled and sent to the Governor.
13. If the House rejects the Senate changes, it is sent back to the Senate for reconsideration.
14. At this point the Senate can reconsider and approve it in the original form; otherwise it is sent to a conference committee composed of GA members from both chambers.
15. If the conference committee reaches an agreement it is sent to both chambers for a vote. If either rejects it, the process is repeated. If both agree it is enrolled and sent to the Governor.
16. The Governor can do one of three things: sign the bill into law, veto it, or let it "slide" into law without his signature.
17. And lastly, if the Governor vetoes a bill it can still become law should 2/3 of both the House & Senate override the veto.
I bet you're wondering "how on earth does any bill survive such a rigorous process?" Quite frankly, I'm amazed too.
*As always there will be thousands of bills filed, but most will not survive the process described above. You can influence the passage or failure of a bill at almost any step in the process. For example if a bill is filed and not assigned to a committee, call the Speaker's office and request it be assigned. If a committee chairperson has had a public hearing but not held an ES on it, call and ask why. You have the capacity to track its progress, and therefore influence, any House bill filed during any current legislative session using the following steps:
* Go to the Missouri House of Representatives' website, www.house.mo.gov.
* On the left you'll see "Bill Information", hover your pointer over it and select "Bill Tracking". Use the search boxes to search for a bill by keyword or number. You can also use the Subject Index page to find bills of a particular subject that concerns you.
* Once you find the bill you want to track, there are several options to choose to get additional information. Use "Actions" to view all actions taken on that particular bill.
* And don't forget you can always call my office, 573-751-6662, and my staff can assist you in identifying the progress stage of any bill.
*CAPE GIRARDEAU: I want my constituents to be aware that Ameren has submitted their proposal for a new electric transmission and substation in Cape Girardeau County to the Missouri Public Service Commission. Residents will have until Jan. 2, 2013 to provide input on the proposal. The proposed project is currently under review by the Missouri Public Service Commission.
If you are affected by this facility, I encourage you to submit all comments -- pro and con - to the Public Service Commission. If you have concerns, there is a procedure in place to receive and record those concerns.
To take advantage of the public input phase of the proposal and participate in this case, fill out an applications to intervene no later than January 2, 2013, with the Secretary of the Missouri Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102, or by using the Commission's electronic filing and information service: EFIS.
To comment you may contact the Office of the Public Counsel by mail at P.O. Box 2230, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-2230; by telephone at 1-866-922-2959; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Public Service Commission Staff by mail at P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102; by telephone at 1-800-392-4211; or by email at email@example.com .