Here’s Information on the Florida Legislative Process, Terminology & Bills in the 2023 Session
To help Floridians with your continuous Bill Tracking and activism with applicable Florida Legislators, please see the tweet and information below.
The first is a FLOW CHART showing the entire Bill Process which you may find very useful. For example it shows you what 1st, 2nd and 3rd Readings are all about and how you can cross reference the meaning on the terminology list as well.
The second is a list of TERMINOLOGY that you may see used when checking on the status of a Bill.
The source for this information is Information Center: Online Sunshine (state.fl.us)
So far I do not see where any of the dozen or so bad 2nd Amendment related bills we have tracked have moved anywhere. Several key 2nd Amendment bills appear on their way to being passed and signed into law e.g. HB 221 and SB 214 prohibiting Credit Cards and Banks from discriminating against those in firearms industry and HB 543/SB 150 permit less carry (but not true Constitutional Carry because doesn’t allow open carry or campus carry).
In the Education/School Board area some good bills that have progressed include HB 1 (School Choice which has grown from 50 to 115 pages due to Amendments some of which may not be that good); SJR 94 (Partisan Election of Members of District School Boards); HB 303 (FL Bright Futures Scholarship); HB 467 (Anti-drug instruction in public schools); HB 477 (Term Limits for District School Boards) and others have been tracking and reporting on.
Some other good bills progressing not related to 2A or Education/SB are HJR 131 (Recall of County Officers/Commissioners); HB 305/SB 222 (Protection of Medical Freedom); and HB 477 (Term Limits for District School Board Members).
FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE PROCESS pic.twitter.com/nPOnNZ92cf
— Dr. Rich Swier (@drrichswier) March 16, 2023
Terminology in the Florida Bills
Information Center : Online Sunshine (state.fl.us)
ADOPTED Resolutions, memorials, motions, and amendments are “adopted”; bills are “passed.” Adopt means to consent to or accept; pass means to enact by the requisite number of votes. In the Florida Legislature, resolutions (except joint resolutions) and amendments are usually adopted by a voice vote. Bills, as required by the Constitution, are passed by the recorded votes of a majority of the members present. Joint resolutions are passed by a three-fifths vote of the membership.
AMENDMENT Changes in any bill or other proposed legislation may be offered by a committee or an individual legislator in the form of an amendment to a specific portion of the pending bill. All amendments receive a six-digit identifying bar code when filed. As with bills, House amendments are odd-numbered and Senate amendments are even-numbered. An amendment may be offered in four forms: (1) an amendment to the pending bill; (2) an amendment to the amendment; (3) a substitute amendment; and (4) an amendment to the substitute. For example, after the amendatory process in the House has been completed and 2 the bill is passed and sent to the Senate, the Senate may begin the amendatory process again. Upon return of the bill, the House may concur in the Senate amendment(s), refuse to concur and ask the Senate to recede, or amend the Senate amendment.
COMPANION BILL When bills substantially worded the same and identical as to specific intent and purpose are filed in the House and Senate. The purpose is to expedite progress by having simultaneous movement in both houses on the proposal. When a house passes its bill, the sponsor in the other house must be careful to substitute this companion there. Otherwise, each house may pass its own bill, and neither becomes law. While both houses may have acted on identical text, each will have passed a separate bill. See CROSS CONCURRENCE When one house agrees to an amendment adopted by the other house. After concurring in the amendment, a vote is taken again on the passage of the bill as amended.
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION A formal expression of the opinion of both legislative houses. A concurrent resolution may, for example, offer the Legislature’s recognition of an honor or achievement of an individual or group. It also may be used to mourn the passing of a distinguished citizen. Usually, a concurrent resolution applies to non-lawmaking matters, but an exception is the use of a concurrent resolution to express Florida’s ratification or rejection of an amendment to the United States Constitution. Concurrent resolutions are also used to extend sessions and can be used to call the Legislature into joint session.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE A conference committee is actually two committees, one from each house, meeting together to work out compromise language acceptable to the Senate and House on some measure when agreement could not be reached through amendments. 8 A majority of the members of the committee from each house must agree before the conference committee report may be submitted to the Senate and House. Neither house is obligated to accept the report, but they usually do since the alternative could be the failure of the legislation for that session. Vote on Entirety A conference report differs in importance from the vote in the House and Senate on the original bill because the vote on the conference report is binding. A conference report must be accepted or rejected. It cannot be amended. If rejected, a conference report usually will be recommitted to the conference committee for another try at adjusting the differences.
CONFIRMATION The action of the Senate in agreeing to appointments by the Governor. See EXECUTIVE SESSION; SUSPENSION CONFORMING BILLS Bills that are included in the conference committee negotiations and are considered necessary to “conform” the Florida Statutes to provide for the fiscal changes implemented by the passage of the General Appropriations Act.
CONSENT CALENDAR The Consent Calendar contains bills of a noncontroversial nature and is usually considered under expedited procedures which the House approves in advance of considering the bills. The consent calendar is voted on with one vote for all bills thereon.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, STATE Proposals to amend Florida’s Constitution primarily come from two sources. One is an initiative petition of the citizens; the other is a joint resolution passed by a three-fifths vote of the members elected to each legislative body. The proposal must then be ratified by 60 percent of the voters in a general election. Unless otherwise provided by law, amendments go to the electorate at the next regular general election, so long as this election is held more than 90 days after an amendment has been proposed by the Legislature. The Legislature, by a law enacted by three-fourths of the members elected to each house, may provide for a special general election to be held at least 90 days after the Legislature has proposed the amendment. Amendments to the Florida Constitution, when ratified by the electorate, become effective on the first Monday in January following the election, unless some other date is specified in the amendment.
COSPONSOR The House member introducing a bill is known as the firstnamed sponsor, and his or her name appears first on the sponsor list and in the Journal. All others who “s
DECORUM The reasonable quiet or calm that a Speaker or President seeks to impose upon the body so that business may be conducted in an orderly manner with an appropriateness of appearance, behavior, and conduct. This decorum provides for the ability to be both seen and heard.
DELEGATION Legislators from the same locality, typically a county. Legislators occasionally will designate themselves as being members of the county’s delegation.
ENGROSSED BILL When a bill has been amended, it is written to include the change in language. This version is known as the engrossed bill. This version is done in the house of origin: a Senate amendment to a House bill will be attached and if accepted by the House, the bill will then be engrossed under the supervision of the Clerk of the House. Similarly, a House amendment to a Senate bill, if accepted by the Senate, will be engrossed by the Senate Secretary. A bill may be engrossed more than once. See
ENROLLED BILL After both houses have agreed upon a bill, and it becomes an act, the bill is reformatted and this enrolled version is signed by the Constitutional officers of the House and Senate, sent to the Governor for consideration, and subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of State (unless vetoed during a legislative session). Memorials, Joint Resolutions, and Concurrent Resolutions are filed directly with the Secretary of State. See ENGROSSED BILL EXECUTIVE SESSION A session the Senate enters for the purpose
FIRST READING This constitutional requirement is met when a bill is officially introduced into one of the houses of the Legislature and its title is published in the Journal. This constitutes the “first reading” in the Journal and also shows the committee to which the presiding officer has referred the bill.
INTRODUCTION The process of bringing a proposed bill before the Legislature. Members approve their bill drafts prepared by the bill drafting services and a bill number is assigned to each bill. The bill title is printed in the Journal of the House and Senate, which constitutes first reading and introduction.
LAY ON THE TABLE Laying a bill on the table enables the body to move on to the next order of business without completing action on the bill under discussion while leaving it in a position which could allow its reintroduction. A bill, motion, or amendment laid upon the table is usually dead.
ORDER OF BUSINESS The order in which business is taken up in the Legislature each day of the regular session. The daily order of business in the House is:
- Call to Order
- Roll Call
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Correction of the Journal
- Messages from the Senate
- Reports of Committees
- Motions Relating to Committee and Subcommittee References
- Matters on Reconsideration
- Bills and Joint Resolutions on Third Reading 19
- Special Orders
- House Resolutions
- Unfinished Business
- Introduction and Reference
The Senate order of business is slightly different:
- Roll Call
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Reports of Committees
- Motions Relating to Committee Reference
- Messages from the Governor and Other Executive Communications
- Messages from the House of Representatives
- Matters on Reconsideration
- Consideration of Bills on Third Reading
- Special Order Calendars
- Consideration of Bills on Second Reading
- Correction and Approval of Journal
- Unfinished Business
PASSED To be approved by the body. Bills and joint resolutions are passed. Memorials, other resolutions, amendments, and motions are adopted
PRIME COSPONSOR The second-named sponsor of a bill in the House. Listed after the member who filed the bill, the prime cosponsor will occasionally 21 stand with the first-named sponsor while the bill is being heard in committee or on the floor. The prime cosponsor asks and is approved by the first-named sponsor and their name will appear on the title of the bill.
PRIME SPONSOR The House member submitting a bill for introduction is known as the “prime sponsor” (by rule, the “first-named” sponsor). The prime sponsor’s name appears first, not only on the original bill, but in the printing of the bill, reference to the bill in Leagis, and all other references.
READINGS Each bill or proposed constitutional amendment must receive three readings on three separate days, unless waived by a two-thirds vote of the members voting in each legislative house before passage. The reading of the title only typically suffices. This reading of the title is usually brief, often just a few words, but enough to describe the subject of the bill. A “reading” may be regarded as a stage in the progress of legislation. Certain things happen on these different stages in the movement of a bill through each house. On “first reading,” a bill is introduced. “First reading” now is almost exclusively done by publication in the Journal. Amendments generally are considered on “second reading.” Debate and final passage occur on “third reading.”
SELECT COMMITTEE A select committee is created by the presiding officer for the purpose of dealing with a specific issue. Unlike standing committees, which remain in existence for the duration of the session, a select committee usually goes out of existence when the purpose for which it was selected has been accomplished
SESSIONS, LENGTH OF In accordance with the Florida Constitution, a regular session of the Legislature shall not exceed 60 consecutive days and a special session shall not exceed 20 consecutive days, unless extended beyond such limit by a three-fifths vote of the members voting of each house. During such extension, no new business may be taken up in either house without the consent of two-thirds of its membership
STANDING COMMITTEE A standing committee is created by rule with 28 continuing authority to consider matters within its subject field, including bills filed by members of the houses. The name of the committee usually indicates its policy jurisdiction
STATUTES Acts that amend or create law are compiled, edited, and published annually in the Florida Statutes. The Law Revision Division of the Legislature edits and publishes the Florida Statutes following each regular session. Sets of the Florida Statutes may be purchased from Law Book Services at www. flalegistore.com and viewed online at www.leg.state.fl.us
TITLE The Florida Constitution requires each bill to be prefaced by a concise statement of its contents. This statement is known as the “title.” The Florida Supreme Court, in 1983, defined three types of title: the caption title (i.e., “SB 83”); the short title, (i.e., “An act relating to the possession of controlled substances”); and a full title which may be lengthy. The court held that each of these met the requirements of the Constitution for readings
TRAIN A bill relating to a single subject, but combining many aspects. The legislative train often combines the good and the bad for individual legislators as well as the Governor
©Royal A. Brown III. All rights reserved.
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