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Unit 4.

3 Notes
How a bill becomes a Law
Types of Bills
o Private bill- Bill that apply to individuals
Can grant relief from another law
Grant a unique benefit or powers
Relieve someone from legal responsibility for some allegedly
wrongful act
Example: Military benefits, tax exemptions
o Public Bill- bills that effect the whole country
Raising/lowering taxes
Health Insurance
Gun Control
o Simple Resolutions- established rules or procedures within the two
o Joint Resolutions- to correct errors in previous laws (amendments are
proposed in this way)
o Concurrent- both houses want to share a common opinion (typically
over ceremonial or schedule related matters)
o Attached to a bill or resolution
o Provisions that have nothing to do with the bill being passed
o Usually used by one party to pass a law that would not normally pass
by tacking it onto a much bigger law that will pass
Few bills become laws Why?
o The process can have up to 100 steps
o People must be willing to bargain and compromise
o Some people introduce bills just so they can publicly stand against
o Introducing a bill-Step 1
Only congress can introduce a bill
A bill is dropped into a box by a congressman
Read out-loud in congressional meeting
o Committee Step 2
The bill is then sent to a committee within congress
Can then be sent to a subcommittee
o These committees can choose to ignore the bill in
order to kill it = pigeonholing
o If a committee decides to discuss the bill they
have hearing
Committees makes a decision
o Kill the bill
o Send it to the floor

o Change the bill then send it to the floor

o Floor Action Step 3
Congressmen argue for the bill on the floor and changes can be
made again
In any order
o House Argues
o Senate Argues
Filibuster- the senate can talk a bill to
death if they choose. There are no rules
in the senate for forcing senators to vote.
Senators are allowed as much time as
then want to debate.
Why? The filibuster was never used until 19th century. Our founding fathers
envisions the senate as being the Stable house, and the House of Representatives
more susceptible to the will of the masses
Once again, our founding fathers fearful of tyranny of the Masses
o Voting on the Bill Step 4
Congress (the senate and the house) must vote on the bill
In order for a vote to take place, a quorum must be present a
o Conferencing Step 5
House and Senate could pass 2 different bills by the time the
process is done, so a conference committee reconciles the
differences between the two houses
o Voting again Step 6
The house and the Senate vote on the bill once again now that
it is the same
o Presidential Action Step 7
Sign the bill into law
Not sign the bill and then after 10 days it becomes a law
Veto a bill
Pocket Veto- if within the last 10 days congress is in session,
the president can take no action, and the bill is vetoed and
congress cannot override it
o If vetoed congress can override with 2/3 vote in house and senate
Step 8
o If approved it is registered as a law in the National Archives Step 9
o Graph in Notes