The big picture:
- Drafting of Bills: Bills can be drafted by any “competent” person, most likely working within the General Assembly. However, a legislator must turn in any drafted legislation to one of two different offices for consideration.
- Introduction of Bills: A member of the General Assembly must introduce the bill. If the bill is being “introduced,” it means that it has already been filed with the Principal Clerk on the previous work day, at which time it received a bill number. When the Reading Clerk reads aloud the name and number, the bill has passed its first reading.
- Reference to Committee: The appropriate committee will study the bill and recommend what happens next. If approved, the bill is placed on the calendar for consideration by the entire House or Senate. Amendments can be added both in committee and when it comes up for debate on the floor.
- Consideration by First House: If the vote is favorable in the house in which the bill was introduced, it has passed its second reading and moves to its third and final reading.
- Consideration by Second House: After a bill passes its third reading in the house in which it was introduced, it is sent to the other house where it goes through the exact same process (referred to committee, etc.)
- Enrollment, Ratification and Publication: After a bill passes both houses, it is enrolled. The Governor may sign the bill into law or veto it. Both houses must have 3/5 vote to override the veto. Once it becomes a law, it is published.
How do I track a particular bill?
You can follow bills by reading Public Schools First NC’s “week-in-review” documents, found on our Legislative Updates page. Alternatively, you can go online to the NC General Assembly’s website and locate bills.
1. Go to the General Assembly’s main page.
2. In the top right corner you should see some boxes to search that look like this:
3. In the box that says “FIND A BILL” type in the bill#. You must put an S in front of the number if it is a Senate bill and an H in front of the number if it is a House bill. For instance: H1119 for “Credit for School Supplies Bill.”
4. When you hit “go” to search a particular bill, it should pull up a page that looks like this:
5. On the bill’s page, you can find a lot of different information, such as sponsors and keywords. This page should also show the history of the bill. That section will look like this:
6. You will also see on this page a box labeled Bill Text. Here you can click on links that will take you to the first filed version of the bill and later editions, as amendments and changes are made. This box looks like this:
7. Finally, when you click on any version of the bill (as discussed in step 6), you will see a document that looks like this:
For a more detailed version of the lawmaking process, please click here.
For a printable PDF of this document, please click here.