ACT: A bill that has been enacted by both the House and Senate and signed by the Governor, or vetoed by the Governor and overridden by the Legislature that has been assigned a Chapter number for that legislative session.
ACTS AND RESOLVES: Yearly compilation of newly signed bills arranged in chronological order by Chapter number.
ADOPT: Approving or accepting.
AMENDMENT: A proposal by a House or Senate member to alter the language or provisions contained in a Bill.
APPROPRIATION: An authorization to spend money.
BILL: Proposal for a new law, change in current law, repeal of a current law, or for a constitutional amendment. It consists of a title, enacting clause, and its text, called the body.
BILL HISTORY: A summary of the actions taken on a bill by each legislative house and committees.
BILL STATUS: Current standing or location of bill within the legislative process.
BODY: 1. One of the two branches of the Legislature: the House and the Senate. 2. The main text, language, or wording of a bill.
BULLETIN OF COMMITTEE WORK: Legislative document arranged by Committee listing bills referred to these Committees.
BY REQUEST: Notation after the major sponsor of a bill indicating that the legislation being introduced is being done at the request of a constituent and is not necessarily the opinion of the sponsor who introduced legislation.
CALENDAR: A compilation of matters awaiting possible actions on the House or Senate floors. Also referred to as the "Orders of the Day." CHAMBER: The formal meeting place where the Senate or House hold their sessions.
CHAPTER: The signed version of a Bill.
CLERK: The Chief administrative officer and parliamentary advisor of the House and Senate who is elected by members of the appropriate branch at the beginning of each legislative biennium.
COMMITTEES: A group of legislators who study and prepare legislation for a report. Either Joint. Standing, or Conference Committees.
COMMITTEE ON BILLS IN THIRD READING: Committee that approves the constitutionality of a Bill prior to enactment.
COMMITTEE REPORT. Recommendation from one of the joint or standing committees to the full branch that legislation should be (1) passed with or without amending; (2) not be passed; or (3) referred to another committee for consideration.
CONCURRENCE: The process of accepting a Committee referral or amendment to a Bill.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE: Committee made up of three members each from the Senate and House; consisting of two majority party members and one minority party member. A Conference Committee is responsible for reconciling differences between the two branches on Bills that have passed both branches.
DAILY LIST: Legislative publication listing the time and room number of Committee hearings at the State House on a particular day.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The date the newly signed legislation takes effect. Unless signed with an Emergency Preamble, the new Act takes effect 90 days after the Governor signs the Bill.
EMERGENCY PREAMBLE: A clause that makes a signed Bill a law immediately.
ENACTED BILL: A Bill that is in its final form and ready to be signed or vetoed by the Governor.
ENACTING CLAUSE: Constitutionally required portion of a bill declaring that it should become Law.
"BE IT ENACTED" ENGROSSMENT: The final copy of a bill after passing one of the two branches. An engrossed bill will be printed with any changes, such as amendments, that were made on the floor of that branch.
ENACTMENT: Enactment of a bill formalizes the bill's Act form. A bill enacted in both branches is now ready to be presented to the Governor for final approval, signing, or disapproval, veto.
FAVORABLE REPORT: A Report from a Committee showing that the Bill should be given further consideration on the floor of the House or Senate.
FIRST READING: A Bill's title is read thereby introducing the Bill to a branch of the legislature.
HEARING: A formal meeting of a committee where testimony is offered. INTRODUCTION: Bill is introduced to the legislature at its first reading.
JOINT COMMITTEE: A committee composed of a specified number of members from the House and Senate. There are 22 Joint Committees in the Massachusetts Legislature.
JOINT RULES: Rules that have been established to govern both the Senate and the House.
JOURNAL: The official record of the daily business conducted from the House and Senate floors. It lists reports of committees, amendments, and bill introductions among other things.
LAW: A Bill that has been passed by the legislature and signed be the Governor or passed over a veto to it that has been codified in the Massachusetts General Law.
MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAWS: A consolidation and codification of all Bills that have been signed into law as Chapters and separated into categories.
MESSAGE: Legislative document used by the Governor to file legislation or return a Bill to the Legislature with an amendment.
ORDERS OF THE DAY: A compilation of Legislative matters awaiting possible actions on the House and Senate floors.
OUGHT NOT TO PASS: An unfavorable report from a Committee signifying that a Bill will not be considered again that legislative session.
PETITION: A request for legislation that accompanies a Bill.
POCKET VETO: A strategy of the Governor to withhold approval of a Bill until the Legislature adjourns. When the Legislature adjourns, the bill will die if the Governor doesn't sign it.
READING: A formal procedure that shows that a series of actions have been completed on a Bill. Some Bills receive three readings: first reading at introduction; second reading after adoption of committee reports; and a third reading before engrossment.
REFERRED TO A COMMITTEE: Transferring a Bill to the appropriate Committee that has jurisdiction over its subject matter.
REPORT FROM A COMMITTEE: Recommendations from Joint or Standing Committees that a Bill or Resolution is favorable and should be referred to the floor of one of the branches or should Ought Not To Pass, effectively killing it for that year's session.
RESOLUTION: Legislative vehicle introduced by the House or Senate expressing the opinions, sentiments, or intent of one particular branch of the Legislature, or asking another governmental body to act on something.
ROLL CALL: A vote that is taken that shows each individual member of the House and Senate vote. Also referred to as the Yea or Nay." RULES: Administrative procedures that are used to govern the House, Senate, or both acting concurrently.
SECOND READINGS: Following a Report from a Committee when a Bill's title is read a second time. It is now open for debate and amendment.
SENATE PRESIDENT: The presiding officer of the Senate.
SESSION LAWS: A chronological numbered list of laws signed by the Governor.
SPEAKER: The presiding officer of the House of Representatives.
SPECIAL COMMITTEE: A committee established for a short period of time, especially to investigate something.
STANDING COMMITTEE: A legislative committee comprised of members of one particular branch; they are made up for either Senators or Representatives.
THIRD READING: A Bill's title is read before the branch a third time. It is open for amendment and debate preceding its engrossment.
VETO: Governor's disapproval of a Bill.
VETO OVERRIDE: When the Governor vetoes a Bill the Legislature has an option to override this veto and enact the Bill into law. A two thirds vote is needed in each branch to override a veto.
YEA AND NAY: Formal name for a Roll Call
Office of Representative Alice H. Peisch
24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133 Massachusetts State House Room 235 (617) 722-2783