The Legislative Process

Constitution of Alabama
Code of Alabama

Steps for Passage of a House Bill
Passage of a Senate Bill
Legislative Glossary

Find the Status of a Bill
Other Ways to Search for Bills

There are 140 members of the Legislature: 105 members of the House of Representatives and 35 Senators. Members of the Alabama Legislature are elected to four year terms.  The terms of all members of the Legislature begin and end at the same time, the newly elected and reelected members must reorganize the Legislature every four years soon after their election. Each four year cycle is called a quadrennium.

The Legislature convenes in regular annual sessions on the first Tuesday in February, except (1) in the first year of the four-year term, when the session will begin on the first Tuesday in March, and (2) in the last year of a four-year term, when the session will begin on the second Tuesday in January. The length of the regular session is limited to 30 meeting days within a period of 105 calendar days. There are usually two meeting or "legislative" days per week, with other days devoted to committee meetings. Special sessions of the Legislature may be called by the Governor

No bill may be enacted into law until it has been referred to, acted upon by, and returned from, a standing committee in each house. Reference to committee immediately follows the first reading of the bill.

For most bills, the recommendations of the committee are followed, although either house is free to accept or reject the action of the committee. Bills reported favorably by a committee are placed on the regular calendar.

Reported bills are immediately given a second reading. The houses do not vote on a bill at the time it is reported; however, reported bills are given a second reading and are placed on the calendar for the next legislative day. This second reading is made by title only. 

The regular calendar is a list of bills that have been favorably reported from committee and are ready for consideration by the membership of the entire house.

Bills are listed on the calendar by number, sponsor, and title, in the order in which they are reported from committee. They must be considered for a third reading in that order unless action is taken to consider a bill out of order. Important bills are brought to the top of the calendar by special orders or by suspending the rules. 

when the bill is considered and adopted, this is called a third reading. It is at the third reading of the bill that the whole house gives consideration to the bill's passage. At this time, the bill may be studied in detail, debated, amended, and read at length before final passage.

After the bill has been discussed, each member casts his/her vote as his/her name is called alphabetically. 

If a majority of the members who are present and voting in each house vote for the bill, it is recorded as passed, with any amendments adopted. Engrossment is the process of incorporating amendments into the bill

A bill that is passed in one house is transmitted, along with a formal message, to the other house.

That bill goes through a similar process of readings and assignment to committees.

If the bill is not reported from committee or is not considered by the full house, the bill is dead.

However, the second house may amend the bill and pass it as amended. Since a bill must pass both houses in the same form, the bill with amendment is sent back to the house of origin for consideration of the amendment.

A bill that is passed in one house is transmitted, along with a formal message, to the other house. 

View Source at legislature.state.al.us