Glossary of Legislative Terms

Terminology used in the Nebraska legislative process

"A" Bill - see Appropriation Bill

Act - the proper term for a bill after it is enacted into law. Also, a term used to refer to a group of laws addressing a particular subject, such as the Nebraska Affordable Housing Act.

Agenda - a daily order of legislative business set by the Speaker.

Amendment on File - an amendment of 10 or more pages, not printed separately or in the Journal, that is available in the Clerk's Office (Room 2018).

Amendment Printed Separate - an amendment of 10 or more pages, printed separately from the Journal, that is available in the Bill Room (Room 1104).

Appropriation Bill ("A" Bill) - a bill to appropriate funds to finance another bill bearing the same number.

Attorney General's Opinion - a written analysis of a question of law prepared by the attorney general for the governor, the head of an executive department or any state senator.

Biennium - the two-year period in which a single Legislature, such as the 96th Legislature, exists. Also, the two fiscal years for which a single Legislature does budget planning and makes appropriations.

Bill - see Legislative Bill.

Bracket - to delay consideration of a bill.

Call of the House - a procedure used to compel attendance of unexcused senators in the chamber. Any senator may move for a call of the house, and a majority of senators voting is required to place the house under call.

Carry-over Legislation - bills and resolutions introduced during the regular session in an odd-numbered year and held over for consideration during the regular session in an even-numbered year.

Chair - the presiding officer. The lieutenant governor or speaker normally serves as chair, but other senators also may preside. The senator presiding is said to be "in the chair."

Committee on Committees - the select committee that proposes appointments of senators to other legislative committees at the beginning of each biennium.

Committee Statement - a statement indicating whether a committee voted to advance or kill a particular bill. Includes the roll call vote of committee members, a summary of the bill and any proposed committee amendments, and a list of who testified at the bill's hearing.

Constitutional Amendment Resolution - a proposal to amend the state constitution, ratify or reject an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or petition Congress about amending the U.S. Constitution. State CA resolutions have the suffix "CA" by the resolution number, and they must be approved by Nebraska voters as well as the Legislature.

Correctly Engrossed - a term describing a bill that is reprinted for FinalxReading with all adopted amendments incorporated.

Consent Calendar - a portion of the agenda in which relatively noncontroversial bills are considered and quickly advanced to the next legislative stage. Usually, a bill on consent calendar can be debated for no more than 15 minutes.

"E" Clause - see Emergency Clause.

E&R - see Enrollment and Review.

Emergency Clause ("E" Clause) - a provision that allows a bill or a portion of a bill to take effect immediately after the governor signs it or after the Legislature overrides the governor's veto.

Engrossment - the process of preparing a bill for Final Reading by incorporating all adopted amendments.

Enrollment and Review (E&R) - the process of incorporating adopted amendments into a bill, reviewing the bill for technical and grammatical accuracy, and making recommendations relative to arrangement, phraseology and correlation.

Enrollment and Review Initial (E&R for Review) - the Enrollment and Review process that a bill undergoes after it is advanced from General File.

Enrollment and Review Final (E&R for Engrossing) - the Enrollment and Review process that a bill undergoes after it is advanced from Select File. During this stage, the bill is engrossed and reprinted for Final Reading.

Executive Board of the Legislative Council - a nine-member special committee that oversees legislative services, personnel and other internal affairs of the Legislature. The Executive Board also serves as the Reference Committee.

Executive Session - a closed meeting of a committee to discuss and act on bills and resolutions. An executive session is open only to committee members, committee staff and the media.

Final Reading - the third and last stage at which a bill is considered by the entire Legislature. The clerk reads the entire bill aloud, unless final reading is waived, and senators vote without debate on whether to submit the bill to the governor.

Fiscal Note - a statement prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Office estimating the effect a bill would have on state and/or local expenditures and revenue.

Floor - the area of the legislative chamber where the senators sit. When a committee advances a bill "to the floor," that means the bill is being sent to the full Legislature for consideration.

General File - the first stage at which a bill is considered by the full Legislature. Bills on General File may be amended, returned to committee, indefinitely postponed or advanced to Select File.

Germane - relevant to the specific subject of the bill being considered. Any amendment that is not germane is out of order.

Hearing - a regularly scheduled committee meeting to receive public comment on proposed bills and resolutions.

History - see Legislative History.

House Under Call - the term used when all unexcused senators are required to be in their seats in the chamber and unauthorized personnel must leave the floor.

Indefinitely Postpone (IPP) - to kill a bill.

Initiative - the power of the people, through the petition process, to enact laws and adopt constitutional amendments independently of the Legislature.

Interim - the period between regular legislative sessions.

Interim Study Resolution - a resolution authorizing a committee to study an issue following adjournment of a legislative session.

Introducer's Statement of Intent - see Statement of Intent.

IPP - see Indefinitely Postpone.

Journal - see Legislative Journal.

Laid Over - term used to describe a motion or bill on which action has been postponed.

Laws of Nebraska (Session Laws) - bound compilation of all laws and constitutional amendment resolutions passed in a legislative session, the state Constitution, and subject and section indexes.

Legislative Bill (LB) - a proposal to create, change or delete one or more laws. See also Act.

Legislative Council - a council consisting of all members of the Legislature. The Legislative Council examines information relating to state government and the general welfare of the state and recommends legislation.

Legislative History - the committee and floor debate records for any bill. A history includes transcripts of the bill's hearing and all floor debate, the introducer's statement of intent and the committee statement.

Legislative Journal - official record of legislative floor action, including all motions, the number of yeas and nays on each vote, how each senator voted on record votes, etc.

Legislative Resolution (LR) - a proposal to make a formal expression of opinion, intent or recognition; amend the state or federal constitution; or authorize a study of an issue during the interim. See also Constitutional Amendment Resolution, Interim Study Resolution.

Line-Item Veto - the power of the governor to make specific reductions in any part of a budget bill passed by the Legislature.

Machine Vote - a vote taken by electronic voting system. The voting board shows how each senator voted, but only vote totals are entered in the Legislative Journal.

Major Proposal - a bill or constitutional amendment resolution that the speaker designates as important enough for scheduling priority. Each session, up to five bills may be chosen as major proposals, all of which must be senator priority bills and must get the approval of two-thirds of the ExecutivexBoard.

One liner - a brief, one-line description of a bill or resolution.

President of the Legislature - the lieutenant governor. While senators address whomever is in the chair as Mr. or Madame President, the lieutenant governor alone holds that official title.

Presiding Officer - the president or senator currently presiding over legislative proceedings.

Priority Bill - a bill that has priority status and generally is considered ahead of other bills in debate. Each senator may select one priority bill, each committee may select two priority bills, and the speaker may select up to 25 priority bills.

Record Vote - a vote on which a record is kept of how each senator voted. The vote is taken by electronic voting system, and the senators' names and corresponding votes are then printed in the Legislative Journal.

Reference Committee - the committee, made up of the nine Executive Board members, that refers bills, resolutions and gubernatorial appointments to other committees.

Referendum - the power of the people, through the petition process, to repeal or amend any act or part of an act of the Legislature.

Regular Session - the annual legislative session that begins the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Regular sessions generally last 90 legislative days in odd-numbered years and 60 legislative days in even-numbered years.

Resolution - see Legislative Resolution.

Revisor Bill - a bill, prepared by the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, proposing a technical correction or the repeal of an obsolete statute.

Roll Call Vote - a vote during which the senators vote one at a time as the clerk reads their names. Senators cast their votes verbally, and their names and corresponding votes are printed in the Legislative Journal.

Select Committee - a permanent committee with a subject-matter jurisdiction related to the administration of the Legislature.

Select File - the second stage at which a bill is considered by the entire Legislature. Bills on Select File may be amended, returned to committee, indefinitely postponed or advanced to Final Reading.

Session - a period of time, usually a number of days, during which the Legislature meets and transacts business. See Regular Session, Special Session.

Session Laws - compilation of all laws and constitutional amendment resolutions passed in a session.

Sine Die - without setting a future date for reconvening. When the Legislature adjourns sine die, the legislative session is finished for the year.

Slip Law - a bill or constitutional amendment resolution printed individually in its approved form after being enacted into law or submitted to voters.

Speaker of the Legislature - the officer of the Legislature, elected from among the senators, who prepares the daily agenda and the session calendar and who presides in the absence of the lieutenant governor.

Special Committee - a committee created by law for a specific reason. Except for the Executive Board, special committees generally have no jurisdiction over bills or resolutions.

Special Session - a limited legislative session called for a specific purpose by the governor or two-thirds (33 members) of the Legislature.

Standing Committee - a permanent committee with a subject-matter jurisdiction related to an area of public policy. Almost all bills and resolutions are referred to one of the 14 standing committees.

Statement of Intent - a statement, prepared by the sponsor of a bill, that briefly describes the bill and the reasons why it is being introduced.

Study Resolution - see Interim Study Resolution.

Veto - the power of the governor to reject bills passed by the Legislature. The governor has five days, excluding Sundays, to veto a bill. The Legislature has a chance to override the veto.

Veto Override - the power of the Legislature to pass a bill over the governor's veto. A veto override requires the approval of three-fifths (30 members) of the Legislature.

Voice Vote - a vote in which senators cast their votes orally and no totals are recorded.


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