Ideas come from all over. When someone thinks an idea should become a law, they bring that idea to a legislator. If the legislator agrees it would be a good law, then they can move to the next step… and draft a bill.
We use the Bureau of Legislative Research which does a fabulous job of researching which helps us put good ideas into the form of a bill. To the side is an example of a great idea presented to me by the Arkansas State Department of Highways and Transportation (which is now called the Arkansas Department of Transportation…another good idea, turned into a bill, which became a law! Hey, we went from 50 letters in the first title to 34 letters, a reduction of 32% …how’s that for streamlining government?! 🙂 )
Once a bill is drafted and turned in to the clerk…
then the Speaker of the House assigns it to a committee. The committee hears testimony on the bill and votes to see if it will be advanced to the House floor for a full vote. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “died in committee”?… that’s what happens if the committee does not vote it out. The bill is stopped. Below is the video of Representative Wing presenting HB2237 to the Public Health Committee.
Now that the Public Health Committee voted in favor of the bill, it is ready to appear before the entire 100 member House of Representatives. A bill needs at least 51 votes to move to the next stage.
Below is Representative Wing presenting the bill to the House of Representatives.
Once the bill passes the House floor, it is off to the Senate where HB2273 will, once again, appear before a committee and then, if successful, go before the full Senate. We don’t have the video, but HB2273 DID pass both.
But the bill is not a law yet! The final test the bill must pass is the Executive Branch. Governor Asa Hutchinson reads all the bills and could decide against one. That is called a Veto. If he does that, then the Legislature can vote to override the veto (with 51%) or not.
Fortunately, Governor Hutchinson liked the bill as much as we did and signed it into law on April 3, 2017!
And this is a brief overview of all the steps it takes to make a good idea a law!