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How a Bill Becomes a Law



Senators put their ideas into writing in the form of a bill. Most of these bills are a direct result of an idea or concern shared by a constituent. Once a bill is drafted, it is introduced and given a unique number. To become law in Ohio, a bill must receive three "considerations" in each house of the General Assembly. Introduction of a bill constitutes "first consideration."


Committees are the best forums for thoroughly studying a bill. They give senators an opportunity to hear from experts and concerned citizens who testify before a committee to express their opinions or make recommendations. Through this process, members may change the bill with alterations called amendments or choose to take no action at all. If a committee recommends a bill be considered by the entire Senate, the bill is voted on and reported by the committee. The referral of a bill to a committee constitutes "second consideration."


All members have an opportunity to debate and amend a bill when it goes before the entire Senate on the floor. When debate on a bill is concluded, the Senate President directs the Clerk of the Senate to call the roll, and members cast their votes. If a bill receives a majority of the votes cast (17 of the 33 votes in the Senate), it passes and moves to the Ohio House of Representatives, where a similar process is followed. Consideration of a bill on the floor constitutes "third consideration."


If the House makes any changes to the bill, the Senate may vote on whether to concur with the changes. If the Senate does not concur with the House changes, a conference committee made up of members from both chambers meets to reconcile differences between the two versions of the bill. Once the revised bill is approved by the Senate and the House, the bill becomes an "act" and is sent to the governor.


The governor can sign the act into law or reject it by issuing a veto. A three-fifths vote of the members of the House and Senate is necessary to override the governor's veto. A signed act becomes law after 90 days. If the governor takes no action within 10 days of receiving the act, it becomes law without his or her signature.