Time not on their side: 2009 Pre-filed bills

Today was the first of two days that House Members can pre-file legislation for the 2nd session of the 118th General Assembly. As I mentioned before, these bills face an up-hill battle to become law before we adjourn next May/June; but I wanted to give you a look at bills that were filed today .

While the legislation process is never “first-in, first-out”, there are a slew of other bills that have a year’s head start on today’s filings. Many bills have gone nowhere while others are in various stages (subcommittee, fullcommittee, House floor, in Senate, in conference committee).

Certainly, I see some legislation filed today that will be on most people’s radar; but which ones will see the most action when we return?

I’ve shared before how a bill becomes law ( from a purely process standpoint). Of course, there are also the other players involved to some degree in and around the State House; but the primary lifting is done by your elected officials and by folks like you getting involved, making calls and sharing concerns and opinions.

Generally the more co-sponsors on a bill, the better the odds that the bill can become law. I say generally because, as I saw in 2005, sometimes hard work and lots of support from colleagues doesn’t always yield fruit until much later .

Also, with the way SC Legislature is structured, one single senator can derail any piece of legislation.

With all 124 House Members up for re-election, it’s my hope we can all stay focused on what matters to the people of our state and finally work together . If we take our eye of the ball and have a short-term election-cycle mentality, well…we won’t see much done ; except press-releases and campaign-rhetoric and spin.

From www.scstatehouse.gov

HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

Bills and Resolutions typically start in the Legislative Council, the department responsible for the organization and operation of research, reference and Bill drafting facilities. A member tells the Legislative Council attorney the type of Bill he wants to introduce, and it is put into legal form. After the member reads and checks the legislation, he gives it to the Clerk of his body. A Bill or Joint Resolution cannot become law until it has been read three times on three separate days in each body, has the Great Seal of the State put on it and has been signed by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House. Bills may be prefiled before the beginning of a session. Prefiled Bills are numbered, dated and referred to committee. A list of prefiled Bills is sent to the members. On the first day of the session, all prefiled Bills are officially introduced and put into the record. If there are committee reports on any of the Bills, they are also put into the record. Bills received during the session are introduced and read the first time, given a number and referred to the proper committee. The Constitution states that each Bill or Resolution must apply to only one subject and the subject must appear in the title. Some Bills are placed on the Calendar (agenda) without being sent to a committee.