NegotiatingLegProcess

NEGOTIATING THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

Key Constitutional Provisions

Article II

Section I. – The legislative power of this Commonwealth shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Section 11. – Each House shall have power to determine the rules of its proceedings and . . . all other powers necessary for the Legislature of the free State.

Article III

Section 1. – No law shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be so altered or amended, on its passage through either House, as to change its original purpose.

Section 2. – No bill shall be considered unless referred to a committee, printed for the use of the members and returned therefrom.

Section 3. – No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.

Section 4. – Every bill shall be considered on three different days in each House. All amendments made thereto shall be printed for the use of the members before the final vote is taken on the bill and before the final vote is taken, upon written request addressed to the presiding officer of either House by at least 25% of the members elected to that House, any bill shall be read at length in that House. No bill shall become a law, unless on its final passage the vote is taken by yeas and nays, the names of the persons voting for and against it are entered on the journal, and a majority of the members elected to each House is recorded thereon as voting in its favor.

Section 5. – No amendment to bills by one House shall be concurred in by the other, except by the vote of a majority of the members elected thereto, taken by yeas and nays, and the names of those voting for and against recorded upon the journal thereof; and reports of committees of conference shall be adopted in either House only by the vote of a majority of the members elected thereto, taken by yeas and nays, and the names of those voting recorded upon the journals.

Section 7. – No local or special bill shall be passed unless notice of the intention to apply therefor shall have been published in the locality where the matter or the thing to be reflected may be situated, which notice shall be at least 30 days prior to the introduction into the General Assembly of such bill and in the manner to be provided by law; the evidence of such notice having been published, shall be exhibited in the General Assembly, before such act shall be passed.

Section 8. – the presiding officer of each House shall, in the presence of the House over which he presides, sign all bills and joint resolutions passed by the General Assembly, after their titles have been publicly read immediately before signing; and the fact of signing shall be entered on the journal.

Section 10. – All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments as in other bills.

Section 11. – The general appropriation bill shall embrace nothing but appropriations for the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the Commonwealth, for the public debt and for public schools. All other appropriations shall be made by separate bills, each embracing but one subject.

Section 20. – The Legislature shall have power to classify counties, cities, boroughs, school districts and townships according to population, and all laws passed relating to each class, and all laws passed relating, and regulating procedure and proceedings in court with reference to, any class, shall be deemed general legislation within the meaning of this Constitution.

Section 29. – No appropriation shall be made for charitable, education or benevolent purposes to any person or community nor to any denominational and sectarian institution, corporation or association: . . .

Section 30. – No appropriation shall be made to any charitable or education institution not under the absolute control of the Commonwealth, other than normal schools established by law for the professional training of teachers for the public schools of the State, except for a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House.

Section 32. – The General Assembly shall pass no local or special law in any case which has been or can be provided for by general law and specifically the General Assembly shall not pass any local or special law:

1. Regulating the affairs of counties, cities, townships, wards, boroughs or school districts.

2. Vacating roads, town place, streets or alleys:

3. Locating or changing county seats, erecting new counties or changing county lines:

4. Erecting new townships or boroughs, changing township lines, borough limits or school districts:

5. Remitting fines, penalties and forfeitures, or refunding moneys legally paid into the treasury:

6. Exempting property from taxation:

7. Regulating labor, trade, mining or manufacturing.

8. Creating corporations, or amending, renewing or extending the charters thereof:

Nor shall the General Assembly indirectly enact any special or local law by the partial repeal of a general law; but laws repealing local or special acts may be passed.

Article IV

Section 15. – Every bill which shall have passed both Houses shall be presented to the Governor; if he approves he shall sign it, but if he shall not approve he shall return it with his objections to the House in which it shall have originated, which House shall enter the objections at large upon their journal, and proceed to re-consider it. If after such re-consideration, two-thirds of all the members elected to that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent with the objections to the other House by which likewise it shall be re-considered, and if approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to that House it shall be a law; but in such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journals of each House, respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the Governor within ten days after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be a law, unless he shall file the same, with his objections in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and give notice thereof by public proclamation within 30 days after such adjournment.

Section 16. – The Governor shall have power to disapprove of any item or items of any bill, making appropriations of money, embracing distinct items, and the part or parts of the bill approved shall be the law, and the item or items of appropriation disapproved shall be void, unless re-passed according to the rules and limitations prescribed for the passage of other bills over the Executive veto.

Article V

Section 10(c). – The Supreme Court shall have the power to prescribe general rules governing practice, procedure and the conduct of all courts, justices of the peace and all officers serving process or enforcing orders, judgments or decrees of any court or justice of the peace, including the power to provide for assignment and reassignment of classes of actions or classes of appeals among the several courts as the needs of justice shall require, and for admission t the bar and to practice law, and the administration of all courts and supervision of all officers of the Judicial Branch, if such rules are consistent with this Constitution and neither abridge, enlarge nor modify the substantive Assembly to determine the jurisdiction of any court or justice of the peace, including the power to provide for assignment and reassignment of classes of actions or classes of appeals among the several courts as the needs of justice shall require, and for admission to the bar and to practice law, and the administration of all courts and supervision of all officers of the Judicial Branch, if such rules are consistent with the Constitution and neither abridge, enlarge nor modify the substantive rights of any litigant, nor affect the right of the General Assembly to determine the jurisdiction of any court of justice of the peace, not suspend nor alter any statue of limitation or repose. All laws shall be suspended to the extent that they are inconsistent with rules prescribed under these provisions.

Relevant Statutory Requirements
 

Sunshine Act 65 P.S. 271 et. seq.

Section 12. (65 P.S. 282) –

General Assembly meetings covered:

Notwithstanding any other provision, for the purpose of this act, meetings of the General Assembly which are covered are as follows: All meetings of committees where bills are considered, all hearings where testimony is taken and all sessions of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Not included in the intent of this act are caucuses or meetings of any ethics committee created pursuant to the Rules of the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Section 9 (65 P.S. 279(d) and (e):

Special Notice Provision

(d) Meetings of General Assembly in Capitol Complex. - - Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, in case of sessions of the General Assembly, all meetings of legislative committees held within the Capitol Complex where bills are considered, including conference committees, all legislature hearings held within the Capitol Complex where testimony is taken and all meetings of legislative commissions held within the Capitol Complex, the requirement for public notice thereof shall be complied with if, not later than the preceding day:

(1) The supervisor of the newsroom of the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg is supplied for distribution to the members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association with a minimum of 30 copies of the notice of the date, time and place of each session, meeting or hearing.

(2) There is a posting of the copy of the notice at public places within the Main Capitol Building designated by the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives.

(e) Announcement. - - Notwithstanding any provision of this act to the contrary, committees may be called into session in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of the Senate or the House of Representatives and an announcement by the presiding officer of the Senate or the House of Representatives. The announcement shall be made in open session of the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Formally adopted Rules of Senate and House of Representatives

Precedents of Senate and House of Representatives

Supplemental Authorities:

Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure

Jefferson’s Manual

FORMAL STEPS

PREPARATION OF BILL FOR INTRODUCTION

Must be in legislative reference bureau format
Request from member or executive agency

INTRODUCTION

Sponsored by one or more members

REFERRAL TO STANDING COMMITTEE

President Pro Tempore for the Senate
Speaker for the House of Representatives

COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

Discretion of Chairman as to scheduling
Option of hearings
Option of amending
Majority of quorum to report (Senate)
Majority or quorum to report but at least 12 aye votes (House)

FIRST CONSIDERATION

No amendments
No debate

SECOND CONSIDERATION

May be subject to amendments
Amendments must be germane
May be debated
May require record vote

THIRD CONSIDERATION

May be subject to amendments
Amendments must be germane
May be debated
May require record vote

FINAL PASSAGE

Not subject to amendment
May be debated
Roll call vote taken
Vote of a majority of members elected required for passage

DELIVERED TO OTHER CHAMBER FOR REFERRAL TO COMMITTEE

REFERRAL TO STANDING COMMITTEE

President Pro Tempore for the Senate
Speaker for the House of Representatives

COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

Discretion of Chairman as to scheduling
Option of hearing
Option of amending
Majority of quorum to report (Senate)
Majority of quorum to report but at least 12 aye votes (House)

FIRST CONSIDERATION

No amendments
No debate

SECOND CONSIDERATION

May be subject to amendments
Amendments must be germane
May be debated
May require record vote

THIRD CONSIDERATION

May be subject to amendments
Amendment must be germane
May be debated
May require record vote

FINAL PASSAGE

Not subject to amendment
May be debated
Roll call vote taken
Vote of a majority of members elected required for passage

IF AMENDED IN SECOND CHAMBER, THEN RETURNED TO ORIGINATING CHAMBER FOR CONSIDERATION OF AMENDMENTS OF SECOND CHAMBER

Referred to committee on rules for review
May amend amendments of other chamber

AFTER REPORTED TO FLOOR BY COMMITTEE ON RULES

Originating chamber may concur in other body’s amendments
Then signed by presiding officers of both Houses
Originating chamber may non-concur with other body’s amendments
Then return to second body for further action
Originating chamber may concur with other body’s amendments as amended by committee on rules
Then return to second body for further action

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE OPTION

UPON FINAL APPROVAL BY BOTH BODIES OF SAME VERSION

Signature by Presiding officers of both chambers
Presentment to Governor
Ten (10) days for action
May sign
May veto
If no action - Bill becomes law
Special Requirements

FISCAL NOTE

Where cost to state government or political subdivisions
Also where loss of revenue

REVIEW AND APPRAISAL IN CASE OF LAND CONVEYANCE

TWO THIRDS VOTE FOR CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS

HOUSE VOTING SCHEDULE

HOUSE REQUIREMENT OF NOTICE OF AMENDMENTS