Steps to Making a Law

US CapitolIt seems every January 1st, states implement a few new laws.  Some laws make sense and make life safer.  No smoking in restaurants was an excellent law; at least I think so.  I hated sitting in a restaurant with someone’s cigarette smoke wafting over to me.  I couldn’t even smell my food anymore.  Now I hear there is the thought of a law prohibiting eating while driving because the driver would be distracted.  Who thinks of these laws?  And what is the process to get them enacted into a law?

Well, it seems these laws or bills are brought forward by a congressman or senator or other political figure.  It might not have been his idea; maybe it was given to him by a voter in his district.  However, it was brought to light, the politician works on the language and introduces the bill.  Now the bill is gone over by a committee that oversees the subject the bill deals with.  Sometime it can be given to several committees who each have an interest in the bill.  After much deliberation, a Committee Chairperson will write a report that describes the bill’s intent and any impact on existing laws.

Now comes the interesting part.  The bill is read three times on the floor of the House or Senate.  The bill is read the first time to make sure it is known to the legislature that this bill is up for consideration.  The second reading allows voting from the legislature on amendments.  The bill is passed on the third reading.  A bill must pass through the House and the Senate before it is presented to the Governor.  Governors have just five days to veto or approve the bill.  Let’s say the governor vetoes a bill.  It doesn’t mean it is gone.  A small majority of both the House and the Senate can override that veto and make it law.

Let’s go back to the proposal that a law be made to ban the driver of a car from eating while driving.   Lawmakers will have to show how this is distracted driving.  They will have to show evidence of accidents caused from eating while driving.  And they will have to have the support of their constituents to pass this bill into a law.  Now I don’t know about you, but I think probably everyone eats in their cars even politicians.  This is one bill I doubt will find its way into the law books.

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