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How a Bill Becomes Law
A bill is an idea for a new law, or an idea to change or do away with an existing law. Hundreds of bills enter the legislative process in West Virginia each time the Legislature meets. Two groups of elected citizens - 34 senators and 100 delegates - study, discuss and vote on bills, and in doing so act for the people of West Virginia. Bills enter the legislative process either through the House of Delegates or the Senate, but to become laws, bills must pass both chambers and avoid a governor’s veto.
Anyone can propose an idea for a bill to a legislator - a private citizen, corporation, professional association, special interest group or even a governmental unit. But all bills must be sponsored by one or more legislators to be considered by the Legislature. In the House, the number of sponsors of a bill or a constitutional amendment is limited to seven while the Senate has no limit on sponsorship.
Bills may go through the Office of Legislative Services or legislative staff counsel to assure that they are in proper bill form. To draft a bill on a particular subject, the appropriate portion(s) of West Virginia law are combined with the proposed changes. After the draft legislation is prepared, the legislator reviews it and submits it for introduction to the clerk of the chamber of which he or she is a member.
Prior to introduction, the clerk identifies each bill with a separate number. This number is used as a reference for the bill throughout the legislative session.
After the bill is numbered, the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Delegates assigns the bill to a committee or committees to be considered. When the bill is formally introduced on the floor of the chamber, the bill number and the committee reference(s) are announced.
Standing Committees are small groups of senators or delegates assigned to study bills involving a particular subject. This process enables a larger number of bills to receive more detailed study than can be done by the entire House or Senate.
Since a committee represents only part of the membership of either chamber, it only can make recommendations about a bill for the full membership to consider. When a committee has completed work on a bill, it files a written committee report that recommends one of the following:
- the bill “do pass” in its original form, or with amendment(s) offered by the committee, or as a committee substitute bill
- the bill be rejected
- no recommendation at all
Some bills “die in committee”, meaning the committee did not have enough time to take up the issue or the committee members decided the bill should not be recommended to the full membership for action.
Once a bill is out of committee, the committee’s recommendation for that legislation is read on the floor of the House or Senate. The Rules Committee of each chamber then determines what bills will be considered and places them on the House or Senate calendar, which is a daily list of bills to be acted on in each chamber. The calendar of bills to be acted on is divided into bills on third reading, bills on second reading and bills on first reading.
Under the State Constitution, a bill is to be read three times. The first reading of the bill is the information stage and alerts membership that the bill will be considered. On second reading, members vote on the committee’s amendment(s) and the amendment(s) individual legislators have proposed to the bill. The vote on passage of the bill takes place on third reading.
Action by the Second Chamber
If a bill is passed by one chamber, it is sent to the other body where it will be referred to committee and the process is repeated.
If changes are made in a bill by the second chamber, it must be sent back to the first chamber for its concurrence. If the first chamber does not agree and the second chamber refuses to remove the changes it made, a conference committee with an equal number of representatives from both chambers is appointed by the Senate President and House Speaker to work on the differences in the bill.
If this committee reaches a compromise and both chambers adopt the conference committee report, the bill is once again voted on for passage. If a compromise is not reached, then another conference committee may be appointed or the measure dies in committee when the Legislature adjourns.
Action by the Governor
After a bill passes both chambers in the same form, it is sent to the governor. While the Legislature is in session, the governor has five days to approve or veto a bill he or she receives. After the Legislature adjourns, the governor has 15 days to act on most bills. However, the budget bill and supplemental appropriations bills must be acted upon by the governor within five days regardless of when they are received. If the governor does not act within these time limits, bills automatically become law without his or her signature.
Overriding a Veto
If the Legislature is still in session when the governor vetoes a bill, a simple majority vote of the members of both legislative bodies is necessary to override the veto. In cases when a budget bill or supplemental appropriation bill is vetoed, a two-thirds vote of the members of both houses is needed to override the veto.
The West Virginia Legislature’s website provides citizens access to bill information. To view a particular bill, the status of certain legislation, who sponsors a measure, to what committee a bill is assigned and to track a bill through the legislative process, please browse: http://www.legis.state.wv.us
What a legislater does.....
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A legislator (or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are usually politicians and are often elected by the people. Legislatures may be supra-national (for example, the United Nations General Assembly), national (for example, the United States Congress), regional (for example, the Scottish Parliament) or local (for example, local authorities).
The political theory of the separation of powers requires legislators to be different individuals from the members of the executive and the judiciary. Certain political systems adhere to this principle, others do not. In the United Kingdom, for example, the executive is formed almost exclusively from legislators (members of Parliament) although the judiciary is mostly independent (until reforms in 2005, the Lord Chancellor uniquely was a legislator, a member of the executive (indeed, the Cabinet), and a judge).
In continental European jurisprudence and legal discussion, "the legislator" (le législateur) is the abstract entity that has produced the laws. When there is room for interpretation, the intents of the legislator will be questioned, and the court is supposed to rule in the direction that it judges to fit the legislative intent the best — which can be uneasy, in the case of conflicting laws or constitutional provisions.
how delgates work
===United States of America===
Delegates from the major political parties are involved in the selection of candidates for [[President of the United States]] by such assemblies as a convention. Some of the officials involved in the process are called [[superdelegate]]s.
'''Delegate''' is the title of a person elected to the [[United States House of Representatives]] to serve the interests of an organized [[United States territory]], at present only overseas or the [[District of Columbia]], but historically in most cases in a portion of North America as precursor to one or more of the present states of the union.
Delegates have powers similar to that of Representatives, including the right to vote in committee, but have no right to take part in the floor votes in which the full house actually decides whether the proposal is carried. See: [[Delegate (United States Congress)]].
A similar mandate is held in a few cases under the style [[Resident commissioner]].
*'''Delegate''' is also the title given to individuals elected to the lower houses of the bicameral legislative bodies of the states of [[Maryland]], [[Virginia]] and [[West Virginia]] (see [[House of Delegates]]).
*Members of other parliamentary assemblies, such as the [[Continental Congress]] or the New York State Constitutional.
*Members of a body charged with writing or revising a foundational or other basic governmental document (such as members of a [[constitutional convention (political meeting)|constitutional convention]] are usually referred to as "delegates".
The Democratic party of the United States of America uses pledged delegates and superdelegates. A candidate for the Democratic nominee must win a majority of combined delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Denver, Colorado in August 2008.
Pledged delegates are elected or chosen at the state or local level, with the understanding that they will support a particular candidate at the convention. Pledged delegates are however not actually bound to vote for that candidate, thus the candidates are allowed to periodically review the list of delegates and eliminate any of those they feel would not be supportive. Currently there are 3,253 pledged delegates.
Of the 4,047 total Democratic delegates, 794 are [[superdelegates]], which are usually Democratic members of Congress, governors, former Presidents, and other party leaders. They are not required to indicate preference for a candidate.
The Democratic Party uses a proportional representation to determine how many delegates each candidate is awarded in each state. For example, a candidate who wins 40% of a state's vote in the primary election will win 40% of that state's delegates; however, a candidate must win at least 15% of the primary vote, or they win no delegates. If a candidate wins 14% of the primary election, they receive zero delegates. There is no process to win superdelegates, since they can vote for whomever they please. A candidate needs to win a simple majority of total delegates to earn the Democratic nomination. www.cnnpolitics.com
The Republican Party of the United States of America utilizes a similar system with slightly different terminology, employing pledged and unpledged delegates. Of the total 2,380 Republican delegates, 1,719 are pledged delegates, who as with the Democratic Party, are elected at the state or local level. To become the Republican Party nominee, the candidate must win a simple majority of 1,191 of the 2,380 total delegates at the Republican National Convention, held in Saint Paul, Minnesota in September 2008.
A majority of the unpledged delegates are elected much like the pledged delegates, and are likely to be committed to a specific candidate. Many of the other unpledged delegates automatically claim the delegate status either by virtue of their position as a party chair or national party committee person. This group is known as unpledged RNC member delegates.
The process by which delegates are awarded to a candidate will vary from state to state. Many states use a winner-take-all system, where popular vote determines the winning candidate for that state, while a few other use a proportional representation. While the Republican National Committee does not require a 15% minimum threshold, individual state parties may however impart such a threshold.
The unpledged RNC member delegates are free to vote for any candidate and are not bound by the electoral votes of their state. The majority of the unpledged delegates (those who are elected or chosen) are technically free to vote for any candidate; however they are likely to be committed to one specifically. www.cnnpolitics.com