Proposed Bill Request Guidelines
Guidelines describing the State Constitution's and Joint Rules' Restrictions on the Introduction of Bills during Even-Year Sessions
The State Constitution1 and the Legislature's Joint Rules restrict the introduction of bills and resolutions during even-year sessions to the following:
- By Individual Members: Proposed Bills and resolutions that relate to budgetary, revenue or financial matter
- By Committees: Bills and resolutions on any subject
- By Legislative Leaders: Bills and resolutions certified as emergencies by the Speaker and President Pro Tempore
The Legislative Commissioners' Office is permitted to draft only those bills and resolutions that meet these requirements. Here are guidelines, approved by legislative leadership, to help determine whether a proposal is constitutionally permitted.
The legislative history of the constitutional provision clearly indicates an intent by the General Assembly to allow proposed bills and resolutions by members only if the "principal purpose" relates to budgetary, revenue or financial matters.
- Types of Proposed Bills That Individual Members May Introduce:
- Revenue bills or bills directly affecting state revenues - e.g., the imposition, increase or reduction of a tax or fee.
- Appropriation bills relating to existing agencies or programs - e.g., an increase or decrease in the amount of the prior year's appropriation for an existing agency or program.
- Bills authorizing bonds for an existing program.
- Bills whose principal purpose is to save the state money.
- Types of Proposed Bills That Individual Members May Not Introduce:
- Bills establishing a new agency or program, even if they carry or require an appropriation.
- Bills without any fiscal impact, even if they may have a fiscal impact in the future.
- Bills concerned solely with local finances or taxes, unless their passage would have a direct effect on state finances.
Simply adding a tax, fee, or appropriation to a bill that is not on a budgetary, revenue or financial matter does not make the bill constitutionally permissible. (See above re the "principal purpose" requirement.)
If LCO cannot prepare a proposed bill for a member based on these guidelines, we will suggest that the member talk with the appropriate committee about raising a bill on the subject.