10 Apr Civics Refresher
Every idea aspiring to become a law in Illinois has to go through at least SIX and sometimes SEVEN hurdles:
- A legislator has to agree to sponsor the bill AND has to ensure all deadlines are met, and that the bill does not get “lost in the pile.”
- The bill has to pass a substantive committee in the House (sponsor may amend it to get enough support to get out of committee).
- It has to pass a substantive committee in the Senate (sponsor may amend, or change, the bill to get enough support to get out of committee).
- It has to get 60 or more of 118 votes in the House (sponsor may amend it to get to 60 votes).
- It has to get 30 or more of 59 votes in the Senate (sponsor may amend it to get to 30 votes).
- (It may have to have a “concurrence” vote if any amendments were made after a vote in another chamber.)
- It has to be signed by the Governor.
It is extremely rare for a bill that has opposition to pass without amendments. A good sponsor will work with opponents, supporters, and stakeholders to make smart amendments that strike the best middle ground.
A bill that does not get through these 6 – 7 steps over the course of a session (from January through May each year) is considered “dead” for the year and will have to begin again. Once a bill has failed to get out of committee, it is “dead” for the year.
A bill is just an idea! If it starts with “HB” or “SB” (or “HR” or “SR”) it is NOT YET A LAW. Laws begin with “PA.”