Legislative Wrap-Up, 0521 ALBJ, Vol. 82 No. 3 Pg. 204 (May, 2021)
|OTHNI J. LATHRAM DIRECTOR, LEGISLATIVE SERVICES AGENCY
|Vol. 82 3 Pg. 204
OTHNI J. LATHRAM DIRECTOR, LEGISLATIVE SERVICES AGENCY
The Conference Committee
We are at the time of year when the pace of the legislature is at its quickest. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with what is happening on each floor and what the current status is of bills that you are tracking. This is true when everything is happening in a smooth process and without disruption, but what about when the second house amends a piece of legislation? Does the sponsor of the bill have to accept that change, what control does she have, and what is the process? The answer is to send it to conference, a process discussed more thoroughly below.
Let's step back to the basics of the legislative process. As we all know, pursuant to the Alabama Constitution, a bill can only become law after being passed by both bodies of the legislature.
Every bill shall be read on three different days in each house, and no bill shall become a law, unless on its final passage it be read at length, and the vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the members voting for and against the same be entered upon the journals, and a majority of each house be recorded thereon as voting in its favor, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution.
Once passed by the second house, the bill is forwarded to the executive branch for action by the governor. The governor's options are the subject of the July 2020 edition of this column.
Now, let's talk about what happens when a bill gets amended in the second house and what options that presents. The house of origin, upon receipt of the amended bill, may:
Concur in amendments-The house of origin may concur in the amendments by the adoption of a motion to that effect. Upon such concurrence, the bill, having been passed by both houses in identical form, is ready for enrollment and transmittal to the governor. The enrolled bill is then signed by both presiding officers in the presence of the house or senate and transmitted to the governor. Joint Rule 2, 5 (2019).
Refuse to concur in amendments-The originating house may adopt a motion to non-concur, and the bill fails to pass.
Refuse to concur in amendments and request a conference committee- The house of origin may refuse to accept the amendments made by the second house. In this case, a motion is usually made to request a...
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