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Legislative Process: An Overview
Each legislature may establish its own rules of procedure. As a result, legislative processes vary—from state to state, from chamber to chamber, and from session to session.
Parliamentary Procedure. One of the best sources of comparative information about state legislative procedure is the joint publication of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries, Inside the Legislative Process.
In addition to their own Senate, House, Assembly or joint rules, many chambers also choose another parliamentary authority to cover issues not addressed in their own rules. Find out why almost three-fourths of the legislative bodies have selected Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure as their official parliamentary authority.
If you want "the basics," consider NCSL's Parliamentary Procedure: A Legislators' Guide
Germaneness means the relevance or appropriateness of amendments or motions to the item under discussion; this may be one of the most difficult decisions that a presiding officer must face.
Committees. In a citizen legislature, there never seems to be enough time for all the necessary legislative business. Therefore, deliberative assemblies usually establish committees. Committees do the homework of the legislature. They are the central vehicles through which legislation must pass for scrutiny, debate and modification. Committees serve as the major access point for direct involvement by citizens and interest groups, providing a formal opportunity for input into the legislative process.
A committee chair is defined as “a member appointed to function as the parliamentary head of a standing or special committee in the consideration of matters assigned to such committee by the body.” Find out how these individuals are selected.
Legislative Information Technology. Technology is an integral part of the legislative process in all states today. More information on how legislatures use technology to improve efficiency is available on the NCSL website "Technology in State Legislatures."
Glossary of Terms. Every occupation has its special jargon, and legislatures are no exception. NCSL offers an explanation of many terms used in legislative circles.