Act: Legislation that has passed both chambers of the General Assembly in identical form, been signed into law by the Governor, or passed over his veto, thus becoming law. A bill also becomes an act without the Governor's signature if seven days have passed.
Adjournment: Termination of a session for that day, with the hour and day of the next meeting being set prior to adjournment.
Adjournment Sine Die: Final termination of a regular or special legislative session. (Literally, adjournment "without a day" set for reconvening).
Adoption (Adopted): Approval or acceptance, usually applied to committee reports or resolutions upon acceptance on the floor.
Advisor(s): Legislator(s) appointed to a conference committee by the presiding officer of Senate or House. An advisor does not have the authority to sign a conference report.
Agreed To: Usual parliamentary term for approval of motions, amendments, and simple and concurrent resolutions.
Aides: Legislative staff members, hired or appointed to perform clerical, technical, or official duties.
Amend: To alter a measure formally by modification, deletion, or addition.
Amendment: A proposal of a member of the General Assembly to alter the language, provisions or stipulations in a bill, resolution, amendment, motion, treaty or in another amendment. An amendment is usually printed, debated and voted upon in the same manner as a bill.
Amendment, Constitutional: Resolution passed by both houses affecting the State constitution, requires approval by voters at a general election.
Amendment, Floor: An amendment offered to a legislative document, or to modify another amendment, presented by a legislator while the document is on the floor of that legislator's house.
Appeal to the Ruling of the Chair: A parliamentary procedure for testing and possibly changing the decision of a presiding officer.
Apportionment: Establishment of legislative districts from which members are elected.
Appropriate: To allocate funds.
Appropriation: Funds allocated to a department of government set aside by formal action for specific use.
Approved by Governor: Signature of the Governor on a bill passed by the legislature.
Assembly: The two houses of the legislature, made up of 50 members of the Senate and 100 members of the House of Representatives.
Author: Legislator who presents a bill or resolution for consideration.
Baseline: Projection of the receipts, expenditures, and other budget amounts that would ensue without any change in existing policy. Baseline projections are used to gauge the extent to which proposed legislation, if enacted, would alter current spending and revenue levels.
Bicameral Legislature: A legislature containing two houses.
Biennium: Two-year period of legislative activity.
Bills: Most legislative proposals before the General Assembly are in the form of bills. Bills are designated HB if they originate in the House of Representatives and SB if they originate in the Senate.
Bill History: Record of all the action on any given bill or resolution.
Bill Jacket: Colored paperback enclosing legislative proposal, bearing number, author, and dated track of progress through both houses of the legislature.
Bill List: List of bills introduced on a specific day.
Bill, Pre-filed: Bills prepared and filed prior to the opening of a regular session.
Blast Motion: Motion to bring a bill to the floor after it has been under consideration by a committee for at least six days. This motion requires a constitutional majority in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
Budget: Suggested allocation of state moneys. It is presented as a bill every two years in the first regular session. In Indiana, the budget is prepared for a biennium.
Censure: An act by a legislative body to officially reprimand an elected official for actions by that official while in office.
Chairman: The presiding officer of a committee or subcommittee.
Chamber:The meeting place for the membership of either the House or Senate; also the membership of the House or Senate meeting as such. A chamber is often referred to as "the floor."
"Christmas Tree" Bill: Informal nomenclature for a bill that attracts, often unrelated, floor amendments.
Co-Author: Member(s) joining original author of a bill. In the House, all additional members after the author are called "co-authors" and with consent of the author may call a bill for a second or third reading. In the Senate, all additional members after the author and second author are called "co-authors." (In Indiana, the terms "author," "second author," and "co-author" apply only to the first house members).
Code: The compilation of state laws; the official publication of the statutes.
COLA: Cost of living adjustment.
Commit: Action sending a proposed bill to a committee after it has been introduced.
Committee: A body of elected members delegated by a legislative body to consider and make recommendations concerning disposition of bills, resolutions and other matters pertaining to specific subject areas.
Committee Chairman: 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.
Committee of the Whole: Either house of the legislature sitting as a committee.
Committee Report: Document accompanying a measure reported from a committee. It contains an explanation of the provisions of the measure, arguments for its approval, and other information.
Companion Bill or Measure: Similar or identical legislation that is introduced in the Senate and House. House and Senate lawmakers who share similar views on legislation may introduce a companion bill in their respective chambers to promote simultaneous consideration of the measure.
Concurrence: Action by which one house agrees to amendments adopted by second house action.
Concurrent Resolution: A document expressing sentiment or intent of the legislature, governing the business of the legislature or to express recognition.
Legislators appointed to serve on conference committees.
Conference Committee: Committee made up of two members of each house appointed by the respective presiding officers, upon refusal of the first house to concur in the amendments adopted by the second house. A conference committee attempts to prepare a version of the measure acceptable to both houses.
Conflict of interest:Position that threatens the ability of a legislator to vote impartially due to some personal interest in a legislative issue.
Constituent: A citizen residing within the district of a legislator.
Constitution: A written instrument embodying the fundamental principles of the state that guarantees powers and duties of the government and guarantees certain rights to the people.
Constitutional Majority: One more than half of the members of a deliberative body.
Constitutional Right: Right or privilege provided or guaranteed by the constitution.
Contested Seat: The situation in which two or more contestants claim the right to represent a given legislative district.
Contingency Fund: Money appropriated by the respective houses for incidental operational expenses.
Convene: The opening or beginning of the day's legislative session.
Convention, Constitutional: The assembling of citizens or delegates for the purpose of writing or revising a constitution.
Co-Sponsor: Members who join the legislator who carries a bill in the second house.
Debate: Discussion of a matter according to parliamentary rules.
Decorum: Proper order, etiquette, and conduct of members during a floor session.
Deficit (Surplus): The amount by which outgoing funds exceed receipts in a given fiscal period.
Died in Committee: Measure defeated or not acted on in committee.
Digest: A brief statement of the effect of a proposed measure on existing law.
Dissent: Failure of first house to agree to second house amendment(s) to a bill, resulting in a negative vote.
District: The division of the state represented by a legislator distinguished numerically. In Indiana there are 50 state Senate districts and 100 state House districts.
Division of the House: A method of voting; a request that members stand or raise hands to be counted when the outcome of a voice vote is unclear or in dispute.
Division of a Question: Procedure to separate a matter to be voted upon into two or more questions.
Division Vote: (See also Standing Vote.)
Do Pass: The affirmative recommendation made by a committee in sending a bill to the floor for additional action.
Do Pass Amend: Recommendation by a committee that certain changes be made in a bill before additional action is taken on the floor.
Earmark: For expenditures, an amount set aside within an appropriations account for a specified purpose.
Effective Date: The date a law becomes binding. If no specific date(s) is named in the bill the following applies in Indiana: 1) for bills passed in a regular session, the effective date is July 1 of the year of passage; 2) for bills passed in a special session, the effective date is the first day of the third calendar month following sine die of that session.
Electronic Vote: A vote in either chamber using electronic voting machines.
Emergency Clause: A statement in a bill indicating the act shall take effect immediately upon passage.
Enacting Clause: The clause of an act which formally expresses the legislative sanction. In Indiana legislation that phrase is, "Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Indiana."
Enacted: Once legislation has passed both chambers of the General Assembly in identical form, been signed into law by the Governor, become law without his signature, or passed over his veto, the legislation is enacted.
Engrossed Bill: An official copy of a bill or resolution incorporating all amendments up to that point in time.
Enrolled Bill: The final copy of a bill passed by both houses of the legislature.
Entitlement: A program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled.
Excused: Absent with permission of the presiding officer.
Ex Officio: The holding of a particular office by reason of holding another office.
Expunge: An action that directs specific portions be removed from the journal.
File: To present to the clerk of the House or secretary of the Senate a bill, resolution, or amendment for action by that house.
Filibuster: The prolonged discussion of a bill to delay legislative action.
First Reading: To read the first of three times the bill or resolution (actually only the title is read) for consideration by that body; also called "introduction."
First Regular Session:Session that meets in odd-numbered years and must be completed by April 29.
Fiscal Note: The statement of the estimated amount of increase or decrease in revenue or expenditures, as well as the present and future fiscal implications of a pending bill.
Floor: That portion of the assembly chamber reserved for members and officers of the assembly and other people granted the privilege of the floor while the body is meeting.
Floor Leader: One Democrat and one Republican chosen to lead floor action in each house.
"The powers of the Government are divided into three separate departments; the Legislative, the Executive including the Administrative, and the Judicial." Art. 3, Sec. 1
"The Legislative authority of the State shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives" Art. 4. Sec. 1
"Each House shall have all powers, necessary for a branch of the Legislative department of a free and independent State." Art. 4., Sec. 16
"The General Assembly elected during the year in which a federal decennial census is taken shall fix by law the number of Senators and Representatives" Art. 4, Sec. 5
"The Senate shall not exceed fifty, nor the House of Representatives one hundred members; and they shall be chosen by the electors of the respective districts into which the State may, from time to time, be divided." Art. 4, Sec. 2
Term of Office
"Senators shall be elected for the term of four years, and Representatives for the term of two years, from the day next after their general election." Art. 4, Sec. 3
"No person shall be a Senator or a Representative, who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of the United States; nor any one who has not been for two years next preceding his election, an inhabitant of this State, and, for one year next preceding his election, an inhabitant of the district whence he may be chosen. Senators shall be at least twenty-five, and Representatives at least twenty-one years of age." Art. 4, Sec. 7
"The sessions of the General Assembly shall be held at the capitol of the State, commencing on the Tuesday next after the second Monday in January of each year in which the General Assembly meets unless a different day or place shall have been appointed by law. But if, in the opinion of the Governor, the public welfare shall require it, he may, at any time by proclamation, call a special session. The length and frequency of the sessions of the General Assembly shall be fixed by law." Art.4, Sec. 9
"Each House, when assembled, shall choose its own officers, the President of the Senate excepted; judge the elections, qualifications, and returns of its own members; determine its rules of proceeding, and sit upon its own adjournment." Art. 4, Sec. 10
General Debate: Term for period of time at the beginning of proceedings in the Committee of the Whole to debate a measure. The time is generally divided equally between majority and minority floor managers.
Germane/Germaneness: Relevance of amendment to subject matter of the bill to which it is being proposed.
Gerrymandering: Drawing legislative district boundary lines to obtain partisan or factional advantages.
Grandfather Clause: A provision exempting persons or other entities already engaged in an activity from new rules or legislation affecting that activity. Grandfather clauses sometimes are added to legislation to avoid antagonizing groups with established interests in the activities affected.
Gut a Bill: Striking everything after the enacting clause of a bill and inserting entirely new material.
Hearings: Committee sessions for taking testimony from witnesses. At hearings on legislation, witnesses usually include specialists, government officials and spokesmen for persons or entities affected by the bill or bills under study. Hearings related to special investigations bring forth a variety of witnesses. Committees sometimes use their subpoena power to summon reluctant witnesses. The public and press may attend open hearings, but are barred from closed or "executive" hearings. The vast majority of hearings are open to the public.
House: The House of Representatives, as distinct from the Senate, although each body is a "house."
House Resolution: A document expressing sentiment or intent of the House of Representatives, sometimes called a "simple resolution."
Indiana Code: Compilation of all laws passed by the Indiana General Assembly.
Interim: The interval between regular sessions.
Interim Committee: Committee of legislators established to work between sessions on a particular subject matter and report to the next legislative session.
Introduction: The formal presentation of a bill or resolution after it has been processed.
Invocation: Prayer given prior to session.
Joint Resolution: Proposal for a change in the state constitution that must be passed in two legislative sessions, with an election intervening, and then submitted to the electorate.
Joint Rules: Rules adopted by both houses at the outset of the first regular session, which govern the procedures to be followed in all areas of joint legislative activity.
Joint Session: When the House and Senate meet together in one chamber.
Journal: The official record of the proceedings of the House and Senate. The Journal records the actions taken in each chamber.
Lay on the Table: Postponement of the matter before the house, which may later be brought up for consideration by a motion to "take from the table."
Legislative Council: Statutory council composed of 16 legislators (most are ex officio members), which is responsible for coordinating and assisting with the many functions of the legislative department. The president pro tempore of the Senate serves as Chairman in odd-numbered years, while the Speaker of the House serves as chairman in even-numbered years.
Legislative Services Agency: Statutory bipartisan service and administrative agency maintained by the Legislative Council to provide legal and bill drafting, impartial research, and technical and other services for the General Assembly.
Legislative Session: That part of the daily session in which it considers legislative business (bills, resolutions, and actions related thereto).
Line Item:Specific numeric line in an appropriation bill.
Lobbyist: A group seeking to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. Originally the term referred to persons frequenting the lobbies or corridors of legislative chambers to speak to lawmakers.
The definition of a lobby and the activity of lobbying is a matter of differing interpretation. By some definitions, lobbying is limited to direct attempts to influence lawmakers through personal interviews and persuasion. Under other definitions, lobbying attempts at indirect, or "grass-roots", influence, such as persuading members of a group to write or visit their districts' representative and states' senators or attempting to create a climate of opinion favorable to a desired legislative goal.
Marking Up A Bill: Going through the contents of a piece of legislation in committee or subcommittee to consider its provisions and proposed revisions to the language, and insert new sections and phraseology.Markup>
Mason's Manual: The volume of parliamentary law and procedure providing a basis for ruling on questions of order in the General Assembly.
Measure: A bill or resolution.
Member Elect: Elected member who has not taken the oath of office or is not yet officially serving.
Message from the Governor: Official communications from the governor read into the official record.
Message from the House or Senate: Official communication from opposite house read into official record.
Minority Caucus: Members of the political party with the lesser number of members in either house.
Minority Leader: Floor leader and chief spokesperson for the minority party in each chamber, elected by the members of that party. The Minority Leader is also responsible for devising the party's political and procedural strategy.
Minority Report: A report which reflects the thinking of the members of a committee not favoring the majority position or action.
Minutes: Accurate, chronological record of the proceedings of a meeting.
Motion: In the House or Senate chamber, a request by a member to institute any of a wide array of parliamentary actions. The member "moves" for a certain procedure, such as the consideration of a measure.
Motion to Reconsider: A move that places the question in the same status it was prior to the vote on the question. Most often, this is done to reconsider a bill that has previously failed on third reading. Motion must be made by person previously voting with the majority, within a specified period of time, and is non-debatable.
Order of Business: The defined routine of procedure in the legislative body each day, which may be deviated from by permission of the membership.
Organization Day/Meeting: Meeting of the legislature on the third Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each year to prepare for the upcoming session.
Out of Order: Not being conducted under proper parliamentary rules and procedures.
Override a Veto: To pass a bill over the governor's veto, requiring a constitutional majority of both houses.
Pending Business: Unfinished business left from previous day or earlier in same calendar day.
Per Diem: Literally, "per day," daily expense money rendered to legislators and personnel.
Point of Information:A request from a legislator to the presiding officer for clarification of a procedural matter.
Point of Order: An objection raised by a member, in committee or on the floor, that the chamber is departing from rules governing its conduct of business.
Point of Personal Privilege: Statement by a legislator defending his or her rights, reputation, conduct, or explaining a particular vote.
Precedence: Order in which amendments or motions may be offered and acted upon.
Precedent: Previous ruling by a presiding officer that becomes part of the procedures of a chamber.
Pre-filed Bill: Bill presented to the secretary of the Senate prior to the convening of the regular session. (The House does not use the term "pre-filed," but lists of the bills in the clerk's office are released prior to the next scheduled convening day.
President of the Senate: Under the Indiana constitution, the Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate and is allowed to cast a vote in the event of a tie. In his/her absence, the president pro tempore, or a senator designated by the president pro tempore, presides over the Senate only during very close votes, ceremonial occasions and crucial procedural questions.
President Pro Tempore: The person appointed by the Senate to preside in the absence of the president. The president pro tempore (or pro tem) appoints committee chairman, majority officers and majority staff, with the exception of the secretary of the Senate who is elected by the Senate.
Presiding Officer: A person who presides over the Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents.
Prevail: To approve or accept, usually applied to a motion.
Previous Question: A motion for the previous question, when carried, has the effect of cutting off all debate, preventing the offering of further amendments.
Principal Clerk of the House: Chief Officer of the House staff elected by the House membership.
Principal Secretary of the Senate: Chief Officer of the Senate staff elected by the Senate membership.
Quorum Call: A call of the roll to establish whether a quorum is present for the lawful transacting of business.
Reapportionment: Redrawing legislative district boundaries to provide equality of representation. Indiana House and Senate reapportionment is constitutionally required in Indiana every 10 years following the federal census.
Reassign: To change the committee assignment on a bill, which has not yet been heard by the original committee.
Recall a Bill: A motion that enables either house to recall a bill previously passed.
Recede: Motion to withdraw from a position.
Recess: A temporary interruption of the session (or a committee's) business.
Recommit to Committee: A motion, made on the floor after a bill has been debated, to return it to the committee that acted on it.
Reconsider a Vote: A motion that, when granted, gives rise to another vote annulling or reaffirming an action previously taken. Motion may be offered only by a member having voted previously on the prevailing side and is non-debatable.
Record: A vote upon which each member's stand is individually made known. These requests, if approved, are entered into the journal. By constitutional right, a member may, upon request, have a protest and reasons for his or her dissent recorded in the journal.
Refer/Referral: After a bill or resolution is introduced, it is normally referred to the committee having jurisdiction over the subject of the bill.
Referendum: Situation in which a measure adopted by the legislature is submitted to popular vote of the electorate.
Regular Technical Session: One day session that meets at the option of the General Assembly no sooner than 30 days after the sine die of a regular session. This session is limited to the consideration of vetoes, conflicts, or technical errors in bills passed in the immediate previous regular session.
Regulation: A rule or order of an agency promulgated under the authority of a statute passed by the legislature. These regulations are contained in the Indiana Administrative Code.
Repeal: A method by which legislative action is revoked or abrogated.
Representative: A member of the House of Representatives.
Resolution, Joint: Proposal for a change in the state constitution that must be passed by two consecutive general assemblies, and then ratified by a majority of the state's voters.
Resolution, Senate or House: Sometimes called a "simple resolution," the same as a concurrent resolution except it is the expression of one house.
Return to a Committee of One: Return of a bill at third reading to the author or sponsor, with specific instructions to amend the bill or resolution prior to the vote being taken. These amendments are generally technical in nature or to correct printing errors.
Revenues: Taxes, fees, gifts, and other income received by the federal government.
Revised Code: Updated statutory laws of the state.
Roll Call (Record) Vote: The vote on an issue before the body; either by an electronic tabulating machine or by voice vote with the names of members being called in alphabetical order by reader and recorded.
Rostrum: Podium or desk area at the front of a chamber.
Ruling of the Chair: A decision by the presiding office concerning a question of order or procedure.
Second Author: This term used in the Senate refers to the second senator signing on to a Senate bill. All additional signers are called "co-authors." With consent of the author, only the second author of a bill may call it for a second or third reading in the Senate.
Second Reading: Presentation of a bill or resolution to the full body following the adoption of the committee report. At this point, the bill or resolution is eligible for amendment, recommitment, or engrossment.
Second Regular Session: Session that meets in even numbered years and must be completed by March 14.
Second Sponsor: This term, used only in the Senate, refers to the second senator signing on to a House bill. All additional signers are called "co-sponsors." With consent of the sponsor, only the second sponsor of a bill may call it for a second or third reading in the Senate.
Select Committee: Special committee of legislators created for a special function.
Senate: The legislative body having 50 members.
Senate Resolution: A document expressing sentiment or intent of the Senate, sometimes called a "simple resolution."
Session: Period during which the legislature meets.
First Regular Session: Session that meets in odd-numbered years and must be completed by April 29.
Second Regular Session: Session that meets in even-numbered years and must be completed by March 14.
Regular Technical Session: One-day session that meets at the option of the General Assembly no sooner than 30 days after the sine die of a regular session. This session is limited to the consideration of vetoes, conflicts, or technical errors in bills passed in the immediate previous regular session.
Special Session: Session called by the governor as provided by the constitution and limited to 40 calendar days.
Simple Majority: One more than half of those voting on a question.
A document expressing sentiment of intent of the house in which it is offered. Also known as House or Senate resolution.
Sine Die: (See also Adjournment Sine Die.)
Skate: To purposely avoid voting on a measure by leaving the floor.
Speaker: The presiding officer of the House of Representatives.
Speaker Pro Tempore: Substitute presiding officer in the House or member taking the chair upon request of the speaker, in his absence.
Special Order of Business: Matter of business set for a special time and day, designated and agreed to by a motion.
Special Session: A session of the General Assembly after it has adjourned sine die, completing its regular session. The governor convenes special sessions, which are limited to 40 calendar days.
Sponsor: Legislator who carries a bill in the second house.
Spread of Record: Request by a legislator that the record show that he or she be "recorded" in a certain way. These requests, if approved, are entered in the journal. By constitutional right, a member may, upon request, have a protest and reasons for his or her dissent recorded in the journal.
Standing Committee: Regular committees of the legislature set up to perform certain legislative functions. Members are appointed by the President Pro Tempore in the Senate and by the Speaker of the House.
Standing Vote: A non-recorded vote used in both the House and Senate. (A standing vote is also called a division vote.) Members in favor of a proposal stand and are counted by the presiding officer. Then members opposed stand and are counted. There is no record of how individual members voted.
State the Question: To place a question before a legislative body for its consideration.
Statutes: Laws passed by the legislature.
Statutory Committee: A committee specifically established by law.
Strip a Bill: Striking everything after the enacting clause of a bill and inserting entirely new material.
Sunset: Expiration of date of measure.
Surplus: Excess of revenues over expenditures.
Suspend the Rules: Often a timesaving procedure for passing bills in the House. Actions can be taken that would otherwise be out of order.
Synopsis: A brief statement or summary of the contents of a proposed measure.
Table a Bill: Motions to table, or to "lay on the table," are used to block or kill amendments or other parliamentary questions for an indefinite period of time.
Term of Office: Period of time for which a person is elected.
Third Reading: Recitation of a measure number, title, and author/sponsor, by reading clerk, before consideration and vote in either house.
Title: One of the 36 divisions of the Indiana Code; offers brief description of a bill.
Unanimous Consent: Proceedings of the House or Senate and action on legislation often take place upon the unanimous consent of the chamber, whether or not a rule of the chamber is being violated. Unanimous consent is used to expedite floor action and frequently is used for routing procedural requests.
Unicameral legislature: A legislature with a single house. At the present time, Nebraska is the only state in the U.S. with a unicameral legislature.
Veto: Disapproval by the governor of a bill or joint resolution.
Veto Override: Passage of a bill over the governor's veto, requires a constitutional majority of both houses.
Voice Vote: In the House or Senate, members answer "aye" or "no" in chorus, and the presiding officer decides the result. The term is also used loosely to indicate action by unanimous consent or without objection.
Withdraw Call: To recall a measure from the floor action, usually only temporarily, after it has been placed before the body.
Without Recommendation: A committee report that is neither favorable nor unfavorable.
Yield/Yielding: When a member has been recognized to speak, no other member may speak unless he obtains permission from the member recognized. This permission is called yielding and is usually requested in the form, "Will the gentleman or gentlewoman yield to me?"
Yield the Floor: A Senator who has been recognized to speak yields the floor when he or she completes his or her remarks and terminates his or her recognition.