Words matter. And when it comes to the Florida Legislature terminology and acronyms may matter more. When the testing bill was recently TP’d (temporarily postponed) some weren’t sure what that meant.
A bill that has passed both houses of the legislature. See Law.
The recess of a legislative house until a later stated time or until the time fixed by its rules for reconvening. Sine die adjournment is the final adjournment of a legislative session. Each house adjourns after its daily session and adjourns sine die at the end of each session.
The list of business (including proposed legislation) to be considered at a committee meeting or during a hearing.
Recommended changes to a bill, which a committee has agreed upon. Each adopted committee amendment accompanies the bill reported favorably out of committee for floor consideration. When the bill goes to the floor, the committee amendment must be considered before any other amendment may be taken up.
A proposal offered by one or more legislators for consideration in the respective chamber.
A non-substantive amendment used to correct errors such as spelling, numbering, incorrect coding or directory language.
Sometimes called a bill analysis or staff analysis, it is prepared by the staff of each committee of reference. It summarizes the bill and explains the current law affected by the bill, the likely impact of the bill, any constitutional issues raised by the bill, and committee amendments, if any, are summarized.
Apportionment and redistricting
Legislative action required following each decennial census, fixing the size of each house of the Florida Legislature and drawing legislative and congressional district boundaries to provide representation in the Florida Legislature and the U.S. Congress for the people of the state.
A two-year period. This term is often used to describe the two-year term of the Florida Legislature that begins in November of an even-numbered year and ends in November of the next even-numbered year. See Legislature, the Florida.
Appropriations, Implementing, and Conforming bills
The general appropriations bill authorizes the spending of public money for specific uses, including salaries of public officers and other current expenses of the state. The implementing bill contains provisions necessary to effect the general appropriations bill. These bills are effective for one fiscal year only.
A conforming bill is a bill that amends the Florida Statutes to provide for specific changes in the general appropriations bill.
A bill that is the product of a legislative committee rather than an individual legislator.
Committee Substitute (CS or C1)
A Senate bill going through the committee hearing process sometimes has numerous amendments, or the amendments change the original concept of the bill. In these instances the bill is rewritten and becomes a committee substitute. The next committee of reference may again rewrite the bill, and more than one bill may be combined. The committee substitute continues to carry the identifying number of the original bill filed. A CS/CS or C2 is a Committee Substitute for Committee Substitute.
A bill introduced in one house that is identical or similar to a bill introduced in the other house. The use of companion bills allows bills in each body to move through the committee process at the same time.
Engrossed bill (E1, 1st Eng., E2, 2nd Eng., etc.)
The version of a measure that incorporates adopted floor amendments. The revision is done in the house of origin and engrossed under the supervision of the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House.
Enrolled bill (ER)
A Senate or House measure approved by both houses and signed by the legislative officers, which is sent to the Governor for action and transmittal to the Secretary of State or filed directly with the Secretary of State. The bill is enrolled in the house of origin under the supervision of the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House.
As used in bill history, companion bills that are identical word-for-word, not including titles. However, Resolutions and Concurrent Resolutions are considered identical if the only difference is the word “House” or “Senate.”
A bill that is contingent upon passage of another bill within the same chamber, e.g., a trust fund bill, a bill providing a public record exemption, or an implementing bill.
Local bill (or Special Act)
A bill that applies to an area or group that is less than the total area or population of the state. Its subject matter is such that those to whom it is applicable are entitled to publication or referendum as required by section 10 of Article III of the State Constitution.
Memorial (SM, HM)
A measure addressed to an executive agency or another legislative body, usually Congress, which expresses the consensus of the Florida Legislature or urges that certain action be taken on a matter within the jurisdiction of the agency or body to which it is addressed. When both houses adopt the measure, the memorial is signed by the legislative officers and transmitted to the Secretary of State for presentation to the addressee. A memorial is not subject to the approval or veto powers of the Governor, is not subject to constitutional title requirements, and does not have the effect of law.
Proposed Committee Bill (PCB)
A proposal that may represent a mandated review, repeal scheduled by law, or, with the Senate President’s prior approval, additional subject of broad committee significance as determined by the committee chair. When the idea is expanded, drafted in bill form, receives a favorable vote by the committee, and filed, it becomes a bill.
Proposed Committee Substitute for a Senate Bill (PCS)
A proposal that represents the changes that a committee intends to make to a bill that is being heard by that committee. When voted favorably by the committee, it is drafted in bill form and reported out as a committee substitute.
A bill that is not subject to action by the Governor, is not subject to the constitutional one-subject limitation or to the constitutional title requirements, and, except for certain uses of joint resolutions and concurrent resolutions, does not have the effect of law. When adopted by both houses, it is signed by the legislative officers and presented to the Secretary of State. Types include:
Joint Resolution (SJR, HJR)
A resolution that is the only authorized method by which the legislature may propose amendments to the State Constitution. If passed, the proposed amendment would appear on a statewide ballot for voter approval or rejection. It must pass each house by a three-fifths vote of the membership. A joint resolution is also used for redistricting.
A bill prepared by the Division of Law Revision and Information within the Office of Legislative Services that makes grammatical, editorial, or other technical changes in the Florida Statutes for clarity and proper interpretation. It may also remove certain obsolete, inconsistent, redundant, invalid, or superseded statutes and laws or parts thereof from the official statutes.
Trust Fund bill
Section 19(f)(3) of Article III of the State Constitution requires the legislature to periodically review trust funds to determine whether they should be terminated, modified, made exempt from review, or re-created without modification. Creation of a trust fund requires a three-fifths vote of the membership. Section 215.3208, Florida Statutes, provides the schedule for termination and review of trust funds.
A proposal that has been drafted, at the request of a legislator or a legislative committee, by the bill drafting office of the Senate or House of Representatives.
The unit of each respective house primarily responsible for drafting bills and amendments and performing related legal research.
A chronological listing of all actions that occur on a bill from its filing to its final disposition. This information is available electronically.
The identifying number given each bill filed for introduction. Since 1990, Senate bills have received even numbers and House bills have received odd numbers. Bill numbers do not carry over from session to session or from a regular session to a special session.
One house of a bicameral legislature. The term is often used in floor debate to refer to the house where debate is occurring.
The totality of appropriations measures passed by the legislature. The detailed spending plan submitted by the Governor to the legislature which recommends monetary allocations for each of the departments of the state for the next fiscal year is also known as a “budget.” Using recommendations from the Governor and individual departments, each house prepares its own version of the budget. See Appropriations and Implementing bills.
Important tools in the legislative process which serve as official notification of bills to be considered, sessions, and committee meetings and hearings. Types and versions of calendars include:
Claim Bill Calendar
A special calendar of claim bills for chamber consideration.
A special calendar of noncontroversial bills, passage of which may expedite the work of the legislature.
A document containing the schedule of meetings and individual committee agendas, the day’s order of business, the special order and other special calendars, bills on second and third reading, and other business. The Daily Calendar is published each weekday during session.
Published periodically during the months between regular sessions, this document contains a list of agendas of committee meetings, prefiled bills and their committee references, and other significant legislative information. Printed copies are available from the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.
Local Bill Calendar
A special calendar of local bills for chamber consideration. This listing is generally incorporated into the Daily Calendar.
Special Order Calendar
The list of bills on second reading to be taken up in session on a particular day.
Trust Fund Bill Calendar
A special calendar that deals with the legislative review of specific trust funds as required by section 19(f) of Article III of the State Constitution.
A private (although not necessarily closed) meeting of legislators. A caucus may be composed of members of a political party, members from a geographical area, or members allied for some temporary purpose. Legislative officers and leaders are designated and nominated within the political parties at caucus. A party’s position on pending legislation is often discussed at caucus.
The large rooms in which the Senate and the House meet. The Senate and the House chambers are located on the fourth floor of the Capitol. See Gallery.
The identifying number assigned by the Secretary of State to a bill that has been enacted into law. The number indicates the year passed and the printing number. For example, chapter 2000-541 represents the 541st law printed in the year 2000. Chapter laws are compiled and published annually in the Laws of Florida.
An electronic publication provided by the Division of Law Revision and Information within the Office of Legislative Services that shows the status of and a chronological listing of all actions concerning all legislation filed during a session. The Citator also provides statistics, descriptions by bill number, sponsor reports by member and committee, and indices by statute number affected and by subject.
Clerk’s Manual, The
Published biennially by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, this book contains biographical information on members of the legislature and other information.
The underlining of new language and overstriking of deleted existing language in a bill, required by the rules of both houses of the legislature, which indicates changes being made to the text of existing law or an existing constitutional provision.
To refer a bill to a committee.
A committee composed of members of the Senate (appointed by the President) and members of the House of Representatives (appointed by the Speaker) whose sole purpose is to reach a final agreement on a bill.
A committee composed of Senate and House members appointed by their respective presiding officers to oversee a specified legislative function.
A committee created for the purpose of studying or investigating a specific matter within a specified time period.
A committee appointed by the respective presiding officer and given a continuing responsibility over legislation covering specific subject matters.
As used in the Senate, a committee within a full committee, which makes recommendations to the full committee.
The findings or recommendations of a committee on a measure or matter referred to it or on a subject it has been asked to study.
Members of a conference committee appointed by the Senate President and House Speaker.
Conference Committee Report
The report of a conference committee on the bill or bills for which the committee was formed. The conference committee report usually includes amendments proposed by the conference committee. The report of the conference committee must be either adopted or rejected as a whole by each house.
Consensus Estimating Conferences
An umbrella term designating a group of conference bodies, consisting of members of the legislature, representatives from the Governor’s Office, and designees from various state agencies, which meet to develop caseload or workload data and revenue projections to assist in the budgeting and appropriations process.
A joint resolution that proposes an amendment to, or revision of, the State Constitution. After final passage and filing with the Secretary of State, a proposed constitutional amendment is presented to the voters at the next regular general election pursuant to section 5 of Article XI of the State Constitution.
To assemble the legislature or either house thereof. The annual session of the Florida Legislature begins, for a period not to exceed 60 days, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each odd-numbered year and on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, or such other date as may be fixed by law, of each even-numbered year.
Daily Order of Business
The items of business and the order in which they are to be considered each day as set out in the rules of each house.
A group of legislators who represent parts of the same county or geographical area.
The area from which a state senator, representative, or congressman is elected. The boundaries of state legislative and congressional districts are drawn in the decennial process known as apportionment and redistricting.
Personnel employed by a legislator to work in the legislator’s district office.
The date upon which an act becomes effective. If a date is not specified in the bill, an act takes effect 60 days after the final adjournment of the legislative session in which it was enacted.
A bill designed specifically to carry out an adopted constitutional amendment.
The State Constitution requires that each bill be prefaced by the phrase: “Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida.”
The period used for budgeting and accounting. In Florida state government, this is the period from July 1 of one calendar year to June 30 of the next calendar year.
Synonymous with Chamber or “in session.” Floor action suggests consideration by the entire Senate or House rather than committee action.
The document that outlines the basic framework of Florida’s system of government which was revised in 1968 and subsequently amended.
Florida Senate Handbook for Kids, The
A student guide to the Florida Legislature, which contains facts about the legislature and games and puzzles designed to help students learn. The office of the Secretary of the Senate publishes it electronically.
Guide to Florida Government
Compiled by the Clerk of the House, a list of agency, executive, legislative, judicial, and congressional offices and the reporters of the Capitol Press Corps.
A note following each section of the Florida Statutes which contains citations to the section and chapter number of the creating act and each subsequent amendatory act as located in the Laws of Florida. Consult the Laws of Florida to determine the effective date of a creating act or a particular amendment.
Generally, either body or chamber of the legislature. When capitalized, the term refers to the House of Representatives.
The process of considering removal of an officeholder for charges brought against the officeholder. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, members of the Cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court, and judges may be removed from office by impeachment. The House of Representatives has the sole power to impeach. It may do so by a two-thirds vote of the members voting. The Senate tries all impeachments with the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court presiding. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required to convict. If convicted, the officer is removed from office.
An amendment to the State Constitution proposed by a number of electors. An initiative is accomplished by filing with the Secretary of State a petition containing a copy of the amendment proposed that has been signed by a specified number of electors.
Latin for immediately. A motion to take up an issue immediately.
The period between the adjournment of a regular session sine die and the convening of the next regular session.
The legislator who files a bill for introduction or the committee that votes to file the bill for introduction. The introducer’s name appears first on the bill, in the journal, and in any material dealing with the bill. This term is often used interchangeably with sponsor. A co-introducer or co-sponsor is a legislator who signs a bill in addition to the introducer. If a bill becomes a committee substitute, the first-named introducers and all others then become co-introducers or co-sponsors.
The reading of a bill (including a committee substitute) the first time in a house of the legislature. Publication of the title of the bill in the journal of a house constitutes its first reading in that house.
The official legal record of the proceedings of the Senate or the House of Representatives. Each legislative house publishes a journal for each day of session. The Journal records only the formal action in the legislature and committees. Its contents include titles of bills introduced and considered, a record of members’ votes on issues, as well as motions and other business before the legislature.
An act becomes a law when the Governor either approves it or fails to sign or veto it within the period specified in the State Constitution. An act can also become a law when a subsequent legislature overrides a veto by the Governor. While the legislature is in session, the constitution allows a 7-day period following presentation of a bill to the Governor within which to sign or veto the bill. If the legislature adjourns sine die before an act is presented to the Governor or while an act is in the Governor’s possession, the Governor has 15 days following the date of presentation in which to take action.
Law Revision and Information, Division of
The unit of the Office of Legislative Services responsible for the continuous revision of the Florida Statutes, including editing, compiling, indexing, publishing, and compiling the history of legislative actions and statistical information on filed bills.
Laws of Florida
A verbatim publication of the general and special laws enacted by the Florida Legislature in a given year and published each year following the regular session of the legislature. It presents the laws in the order in which they are numbered by the Secretary of State, as well as resolutions and memorials passed by the legislature.
Legislature, The Florida
Florida’s bicameral legislature, composed of the 40-member Senate and the 120-member House of Representatives. Each house is the sole judge of the qualifications and elections of its members and has the power to choose its own officers and establish its own rules of procedure. Either house may initiate legislation on any subject. Senators serve 4-year, staggered terms and representatives serve 2-year terms. No legislator may seek reelection “if, by the end of the current term of office, the person will have served . . . in that office for eight consecutive years.” See section 4 of Article VI of the State Constitution.
One who encourages, directly or indirectly, the passage, defeat, or modification of any legislation.
A legislator from the majority party designated by the presiding officer of each house to be the leader of the majority party members in that house.
Communication by one house to the other house concerning action taken on a bill. Each bill, and any amendments to it, is transmitted from one house to the other accompanied by a document (message) that states the action taken on the bill. The term “messages” is also used to describe the unit of the office of the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House responsible for transmitting bills to the other house.
The legislator elected by the minority party caucus in each house to be the leader of the minority party members in that house.
A formal request made by a legislator on the floor or in a committee meeting to take some procedural action. The rules of each house determine the importance of a motion, whether it may be debated, and the vote required for adoption of the motion.
OLS (Office of Legislative Services)
Joint Rules of the Florida Legislature provide for an Office of Legislative Services to provide legislative support services that are determined by the President and the Speaker to be necessary and that can be effectively provided jointly to both houses and other units of the legislature.
The constitutional requirement, imposed by section 6 of Article III of the State Constitution, that every law shall embrace but one subject and matter properly connected therewith.
Section 4(e) of Article III of the State Constitution provides that specified legislative meetings shall be open and noticed to the public. All legislative sessions are open to the public except executive sessions of the Senate.
Analysis of how the agencies of the executive branch go about the performance of their duties is an important responsibility of committees.
Prior to the compilation of the volume of newly enacted laws, the printed copies of the individual laws are available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for viewing or printing from the Department of State’s website in pamphlet or “slip” form. This term is used interchangeably with “session law” or “chapter law.”
Name by which some legislative acts come to be known. It may include the name of a person (Mrs. Doubtfire bill), an action (10-20-Life bill), or an acronym (WAGES bill).
President of the Senate
The presiding officer of the Senate, having been designated by the majority party in caucus and then elected by the full membership of the Senate for a term of two years at the organization session.
The proclamation issued by the Governor or the Senate President and House Speaker jointly to call the Florida Legislature into a special session. It states the reason for the session, the issues to be addressed during the session, and the length of the session. Also referred to as “the Call.”
In a general appropriations bill, language used to qualify or restrict a specific appropriation.
Public records law
A law providing that public records that are not exempt from public disclosure may be inspected at reasonable times, under reasonable conditions, and under the supervision of the person who has custody of the records.
Public Review Period, Constitutional (72-hour rule)
A 72-hour public-review period required by section 18(d) of Article III of the State Constitution before final passage of general appropriations bills. Section 1(e) of Article VII requires a 72-hour period after third reading before the final passage of a bill increasing state revenues.
A majority. The State Constitution requires a majority of the members elected to a house to be present for the transacting of legislative business.
A call made by the presiding officer to establish the presence of a majority for the lawful transacting of business.
The act approving an amendment to the United States Constitution.
Each bill or proposed constitutional amendment must receive three readings on three separate days in each legislative house before it can be passed (unless waived by a two-thirds vote of the members for readings on the same day). These readings are:
The bill is introduced and its title is published in the journal; sometimes first reading takes place during a chamber session.
After favorable reports by all committees of reference, the bill is available for placement on the calendar. When it is considered on the floor, it is read a second time. Debate occurs and amendments may be considered. If amendments are adopted, the bill is engrossed.
Debate on final passage occurs; a two-thirds vote is required to amend at this stage.
Recall a bill
A request by either house for return of a bill from the other house or from the Governor’s Office. When the request is from one house to the other, a written message is sent to the other house. The adoption of a concurrent resolution is required to recall a bill from the Governor’s Office.
A break within a sitting during which a legislative body is not conducting business. After a recess, a legislative body resumes business at the point where business halted when the recess was taken.
A vote of the electors. A referendum is required as a condition for the effectiveness of a local bill if proof of publication has not been provided.
The removal of an entire section, subsection, or paragraph of law from the Florida Statutes by the legislature. The repeal of a statute or statutes is accomplished by the insertion of a repealer clause in a bill that becomes a law.
The calling of names of members of the Senate or the House, either to determine the presence of a quorum or to act upon a matter before that house. In the chamber, the roll is recorded by an electronic voting machine.
Ruling by the chair
A decision by the committee chair or the presiding officer concerning a question of order or procedure.
Secretary of the Senate
The officer specified in section 2 of Article III of the State Constitution and designated by the Senate to serve at its pleasure who is responsible for assisting the officers, members, and staff of the Senate in the detailed processes by which laws are enacted.
Senate Handbook, The Florida
Published by the office of the Secretary of the Senate biennially, this book provides information on senators and officers and outlines and describes the Senate, its operations, and its relationship with the House and the other branches of government. It is distributed free of charge to Capitol visitors and other interested Floridians to enhance their knowledge and understanding of Florida’s government and, particularly, the Florida Senate.
Sergeant at Arms
The person charged with enforcing the directions of the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Sergeant’s office is responsible for the security of the respective legislative body and maintenance of property of that house.
Section 4(b) of Article III of the State Constitution provides that the Senate may resolve itself into executive (closed) session for the sole purpose of considering a person’s appointment to office or removal or suspension from office.
A regular or special session that has been prolonged beyond its allocated time in order to complete action on introduced legislation. Extension requires a three-fifths vote by members of each house. Additional business may be considered only by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house.
The annual session held the first day of the regular session in the House chamber and attended by members of both houses, the Governor, the Cabinet, members of the Supreme Court, and invited guests. The purpose of this session is for the Governor to inform the legislature concerning the condition of the state, propose such reorganization of the executive department as will promote efficiency and economy, and recommend measures in the public interest. Joint sessions are also held on other occasions.
Section 3(a) of Article III of the State Constitution directs the legislature to convene on the 14th day after the general election, solely for the purpose of organizing. Organizing includes the taking of the oath by members, the election of officers, the appointment of committees, and the adoption of the rules.
This is the name given to the annual session that begins on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each odd-numbered year, and on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, or such other date as may be fixed by law, of each even-numbered year, for a period not to exceed 60 consecutive days.
Special sessions may be called by Proclamation of the Governor or by Joint Proclamation of the Senate President and the House Speaker for the purpose of considering specific legislation, and shall not exceed 20 consecutive days unless extended by a three-fifths vote of each house.
See Pamphlet law.
Speaker of the House of Representatives
The presiding officer of the House of Representatives, having been designated by the majority party in caucus and then elected by the body for a term of two years at the organization session.
Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives
A member of the House of Representatives who is designated by the majority party in caucus and then elected by the body. The Speaker pro tempore presides over the House of Representatives at the request of the Speaker or in the absence of the Speaker.
A term used interchangeably with introducer.
Bill Summaries are created by committee staff and give brief explanations of legislation that passed in both the House and Senate during a particular session.
“Temporarily postponed,” “temporarily passed,” “temporarily deferred,” or “TP’d” refer to the postponing of consideration of a bill or other legislative matter appearing on an agenda or calendar.
Section 4 of Article VI of the State Constitution provides that specified elected officials may not seek reelection “if, by the end of the current term of office, the person will have served . . . in that office for eight consecutive years.”
A legislature that has only one house. Nebraska is the only state having a unicameral legislature.
Veto, Line item
Power of the Governor to selectively veto items in a general appropriations act or any specific appropriation in a substantive act containing an appropriation. See section 18(b) of Article III of the State Constitution for restrictions on the Governor’s use of this power.
Action by the legislature to set aside the Governor’s objections to an act. It takes two-thirds of the members voting in each house to override a veto.
Certain measures require more than a simple majority vote for passage; thus such measures are said to require an “extraordinary vote.” For example, it takes two-thirds of the members voting to override the Governor’s veto or to move to waive the readings of a bill on separate days.
The necessary votes obtained in either house for a legislative matter to pass in that house.
An equal number of legislators in either house vote for and against a bill, amendment, or motion, thereby killing the measure.
The term used when an issue fails to receive the necessary number of favorable votes.
An oral vote is allowed on some legislative issues such as motions, amendments, and resolutions. A voice vote cannot be used for passage of bills or joint resolutions.
The electronic voting displays located in each chamber which show how legislators are voting on a measure before the body.
Waive the rules
The process, requiring a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, of setting aside certain rules in order to take certain action.
A phrase used by the presiding officer to indicate that he or she is disposing of a matter without taking a roll call vote of the members, assuming that the action taken is approved unanimously.
A legislator may release part of the allotted time for which he or she has the floor to another member of his or her chamber, usually for questions or clarification of the yielding legislator’s discussion.
- CR – Concurrent Resolution
- CS or C1 – Committee Substitute
- CS/CS or C2 – Committee Substitute for Committee Substitute
- E – Engrossed Bill
- E1 or 1st ENG – First Engrossed
- E2 or 2nd ENG – Second Engrossed
- ER – Enrolled Bill
- F.S. – Florida Statutes
- GB – General Bill
- GC – Claim/General Bill
- GL – General Bill/Local Application
- GR – Reviser’s/General Bill
- GT – Trust Fund/General Bill
- H – House
- HB – House Bill
- HCR – House Concurrent Resolution
- HJ – House Journal
- HJR – House Joint Resolution
- HR – House Resolution
- JR – Joint Resolution
- L.O.F.- Laws of Florida
- LB – Local Bill
- LC – Claim/Local Bill
- M – Memorial
- PCB – Proposed Committee Bill
- PCS – Proposed Committee Substitute
- R – Resolution
- S– Senate
- SB – Senate Bill
- SCR – Senate Concurrent Resolution
- SJ – Senate Journal
- SJR – Senate Joint Resolution
- SR – Senate Resolution
- TF – Trust Fund
- TP – Temporarily Postponed
- WD – Withdrawn
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