GLOSSARY OF LEGISLATIVE TERMS
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These terms are defined according to their use in the Oklahoma Legislature
and in the Oklahoma State Senate.
Absolute Majority - See "Majority"
Act - a measure which has become
law after: (1) being passed by both houses and approved by the Governor,
(2) being passed over the Governor's veto, or (3) becoming effective
without the Governor's signature.
Action - disposition of any
question before the Legislature.
Adjournment - termination of
a daily session; occurring at the close of each legislative day
upon the completion of business, with the hour and day of the next
meeting being set prior to adjournment. (See also "Sine
Adoption - approval or acceptance;
usually applied to amendments, resolutions or conference committee
Advancement - a procedure by
which a measure on the floor is moved to third reading and is no
longer subject to amendment in the house in which it is being considered.
Advise and Consent - confirmation
by the Senate of certain appointees of the Governor or other appointing
Agenda (committee) - a list
of legislative measures, by number and short title, arranged according
to the order of business, to be considered in a committee meeting.
Agenda (floor) - a list of
legislative measures, by number and short title, that the Majority
Floor Leader plans to consider on a particular legislative day.
Any other measure listed on the calendar can also be considered
by the Senate that day. The floor agenda is part of the Senate Digest.
(See also "Calendar".)
Amendment - any alteration
made or proposed to be made in a bill, motion or clause by adding,
changing, substituting or omitting portions of the measure in question.
Amendments may be made at the appropriate time in committee or on
the Senate floor.
Annual Session - a regularly
scheduled legislative session that convenes each year. (See also
Apportionment - a division
of the state into districts from which legislators are elected based
upon the distribution of the population. (See also "Reapportionment".)
Appropriation - a legislative
allocation of funds for a specific purpose.
Author - the legislator who
introduces and sponsors a measure in either house. (See also "Coauthor"
and "Principal Author".)
Bicameral Legislature - a Legislature
consisting of two houses. (See also "Unicameral
Biennial Session - a regular
scheduled legislative session which convenes every other year. (See
also "Annual Session".)
Bill - a proposed new law or
a proposed change to current law presented to the Legislature for
consideration. (See also "Resolution".)
Bill Analysis - a synopsis
consisting of background information, statement of purpose, section-by-section
analysis and a summary of all previous legislative action on the
Bipartisan - involving representatives
of two political parties. (See also "Nonpartisan".)
Bloc - a group of legislators
working together to achieve a common goal.
Budget - estimate of the receipts
and expenditures needed to carry out programs for a fiscal period.
Calendar - a list of legislation
available to be heard by the Legislature. (See also "Agenda",
"General Order" and "Consent
Calendar Day - any day of the
year, whether or not the Legislature is in session. (See also "Legislative
Call of the Senate - a method
of operation of the Senate upon a majority vote of the members present,
under which the presiding officer may compel the attendance of all
members and may confine the members to the chamber for the purpose
of conducting business.
Carryover Legislation - legislation
held over from the first regular session of a Legislature to the
second regular session (from odd-numbered years to even-numbered
Caucus - a meeting of certain
members of a legislative body to select leaders or decide policy.
A caucus may be formed by a political party or may be formed by
any group with a common interest.
Chair - a traditional designation
of the current presiding officer.
Chamber - the meeting place
of the Senate or House. The Oklahoma legislative chambers are located
on the fourth floor of the Capitol.
Coauthor - a member of either
house who joins the principal author in the sponsorship of a measure.
(See also "Author".)
Coauthor Slip - a paper upon
which a member indicates in writing an intention to Coauthor legislation.
All authorship changes after introduction must be made in writing
or made with unanimous consent on the Senate floor.
Codification - the process
by which newly enacted law is systematically numbered within the
Committee - a group of members
of a legislative body to which is assigned a special task.
- a permanent committee set up to handle legislation in a certain
Special or Select Committee
- a temporary committee set up to deal with a specific issue.
Joint Committee - a committee
representing both houses.
Conference Committee - a
joint committee whose function is to arrive at a single version
of a bill which has passed the two legislative houses in somewhat
different form. (See also "General Conference
Committee on Appropriations".)
Committee of the Whole - a
committee consisting of the entire membership of the Senate. Without
prior notice, the Senate may declare itself a committee of the whole
upon approval of a majority of the members.
Committee Report - the report
of an action of a majority of the members of a certain committee
on any measure. The committee report is transmitted to the floor.
A committee report shows a recommendation for action, all committee
amendments and any authorship changes. Recommendations for action
are limited to "do pass" or "do pass as amended". The latter can
include a committee substitute for the measure.
Committee Substitute - revised
version of legislation proposed for consideration or adopted by
Concurrent Resolution - See
Conference Committee - See
Confirmation - approval by
the Senate of appointments made by the Governor or other appointing
authority. (See also "Advise and Consent".)
Consent Calendar - schedule
of legislation on which, by unanimous consent, there can be neither
debate nor amendment. (See also "Calendar"
and "General Order".)
Constituent - a citizen residing
within the district of an elected legislator.
Constitutional Amendment -
a change in the state constitution, proposed either by legislative
joint resolution or initiative petition, and requiring an affirmative
vote of the electorate to become effective.
Convene - to assemble the Legislature
or either house thereof. The regular session of the Legislature
convenes on the first Monday in February of each year. In odd-numbered
years the Legislature convenes on the first Tuesday after the first
Monday in January for that one day only.
Cripple the Title - see "Strike
Daily Session - see "Session".
Deadline - a legislative day
after which certain activities may not occur. The joint rules contain
deadlines for such activities as bill requests, introduction, committee
consideration and floor action.
Debate - the formal expression
of a member's views for or against a matter.
Digest - a Senate publication
prepared by the records staff containing the floor agenda, com-mittee
meeting notices and the calendar.
District - a geographic division
of the state on the basis of population and in accordance with conditions
laid down by the courts, Congress or the Legislature.
Effective date - the date upon
which a measure actually becomes law. This date may or may not be
listed in the legislation. If not, and if an emergency clause is
not included, the law au-tomatically becomes effective 90 days after
sine die adjournment. (See also "Emergency
Election - the process of choosing
government officials or approving legislation or constitutional
amendments by the electorate.
Primary Election -
an election within a party to select its candidates for public office.
Runoff Primary Election -
an election between the two contenders receiving the highest number
of votes in the primary election if no contender has received
a majority of the votes cast.
General Election - an open
election to make final determination of the winning candidate
or of approval of legislation or constitutional amendments.
Emergency Clause - a provision,
requiring two-thirds approval by both houses, that allows a measure
to become effective immediately upon the signature of the Governor
or at a specified date. A law cannot become effective fewer than
90 days after sine die adjourn-ment without an emergency clause.
Enact - to pass a law.
Enacting clause - the phrase:
"BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:". All bills
passed must contain an enacting clause.
Engrossment - the preparation
of an exact, accurate and official copy of a measure passed by the
house of origin containing the proper endorsement of that house
and including all adopted committee and floor amendments; the measure
is then forwarded to the opposite house for its consideration. Any
amendments made in the opposite house are likewise en-grossed and
re-turned to the house of origin for consideration.
Enrollment - the preparation
of an exact, accurate and official copy of a measure in its final
form in the house of origin, with amendments adopted in the opposite
house or in a conference committee and concurred in by the house
of origin incorporated in the measure; the final and official copy
includes the signatures of the presiding officers of both houses
and is sent to the Governor for signature.
Ex Officio - the holding of
a particular office by reason of holding another. The President
Pro Tempore and the Majority Floor Leader are ex officio members
of all Senate committees.
Executive Nomination - nomination
made by the Governor or other appointing authority of an appointee
to a state agency, board or commission and sent to the Senate for
its approval. The nomination is first sent to the appropriate standing
committee which makes a recommendation to the full Senate.
Expiration Date - See "Lapse
Extraordinary Session - See
Filibuster - prolonged debate
for the purpose of delaying or preventing action by the Legislature.
First Reading - see "Readings".
Fiscal Year - a twelve-month
period at the end of which accounts are finalized. Oklahoma's fiscal
year lasts from July 1 through June 30.
Floor - the interior of either
chamber; "floor action" describes the consideration of measures
by the entire membership of the respective chambers.
Floor Amendment - an amendment
proposed for consideration on the Senate floor. When a measure is
read for passage, and before advancement of the measure, members
may write changes to the bill in the form of a floor amendment.
These amendments are written by the members or legislative services
staff, and are either adopted or fail according to a vote of the
Gallery - the seating area
for visitors and media located above the chambers (on the fifth
floor of the Capitol).
General Conference Committee on
Appropriations (GCCA) - a continuing conference committee which
hears all appropriation bills for consideration on the floor. The
GCCA is made up of members from each house and is divided into subcommittees.
General Election - see "Election".
General Order - an order of
legislative business in which the Senate considers bills and joint
resolutions which have been reported out of committee. Under general
order, measures are subject to debate and amendment. (See also "Calendar"
and "Consent Calendar".)
Gerrymander - to draw legislative
district boundary lines to obtain partisan or factional ad-vantages
in the election of legislators.
Grandfather Clause - section
of a measure making its provisions inapplicable to activities or
personnel involved prior to a specific date.
Hearing - a session of a legislative
committee at which witnesses present testimony on matters under
consideration by the committee.
Impeachment - a procedure to
remove from office certain public officials accused of mis-con-duct.
Impeachment proceedings take place in the House of Representatives,
while trial on the charges is held in the Senate.
Initiative Petition - the method
by which the people may submit proposals for legislation or constitutional
Interim - the period between
sine die adjournment of one regular legislative session to the convening
of the next regular legislative session.
Introduction - the filing of
a measure for consideration by the Legislature. A mea-sure is con-sidered
introduced upon first reading and is assigned a number at that time.
Joint Committee - See "Committee".
Joint Resolution - See "Resolution".
Joint Rules - See "Rules".
Joint Session - See "Session".
Journal - the official record
of legislative proceedings. Each house issues its own daily
journal for each day of the session and a corrected, indexed
and bound permanent journal after the close of the session.
Lapse Date - a date listed
in some legislation after which all or some of the provi-sions of
that legislation are no longer in effect. This may be a specific
date or may be dependent upon the fulfillment of certain requirements
listed in the legislation. Lapse dates are used most frequently
in appropriation bills.
Law - See "Act".
Lay over - to postpone action
on a measure until a future time.
Legislative Day - a day on
which the Legislature actually meets. (See also "Calendar
Day".) There are usually four legislative days per
Lobbyist - a person who, voluntarily
or for a fee, represents himself or herself, any individual, organization,
corporation or entity before the Legislature.
Lower House - the House of
Majority - more than half.
- more than half of the entire membership.
Simple majority - more than
half of the members present and voting.
Majority Floor Leader - a senator
chosen by members of the majority party caucus to de-termine the
order of business for the Senate. The Majority Floor Leader is an
ex officio and voting member of all Senate committees. The members
of the majority party caucus also choose one or more Majority Whips
and Assistant Majority Floor Leaders.
Majority Whip - a senator responsible
for assisting the members of the majority party in working with
members of the Senate in determining and informing the leadership
of the members' positions on issues.
Minority Floor Leader - a senator
chosen by members of the minority party caucus to be the leader
of the minority party members. The members of the minority party
also choose an Assistant Minority Floor Leader, a Minority Whip
and an Assistant Minority Whip.
Minority Whip - a senator responsible
for assisting the members of the minority party in the same manner
as the Majority Whip. (See also "Majority Whip".)
Measure - bill, joint resolution,
concurrent resolution or simple resolution.
Message - communication from
one house to the other or to or from the Governor concerning legislative
or gubernatorial action on bills, resolutions or executive nominations.
Minutes - accurate chronological
record of the proceedings of a meeting.
Motion - a proposal on procedure
or action presented to a legislative body.
Motion to reconsider - a motion
to consider again an action of the house in which the measure is
being considered. For a motion to reconsider the final vote of a
measure on third or fourth reading or on an emergency clause or
special election feature, notice must be served on the same day
of the action that a member may wish to lodge a motion to reconsider
and the motion must be made within the succeeding three legislative
days. A motion to reconsider any other action must be made by a
member voting in the majority and must be disposed of on the same
Nonpartisan - free from party
domination. (See also "Bipartisan".)
Officers - members and staff
elected by the Senate as leadership. This includes the Lieutenant
Governor who is the President of the Senate, the President Pro Tem-pore,
the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders, the Assistant Majority
and Minority Floor Leaders, the Majority and Minority Whips and
the Secretary of the Senate.
Order of Business - the following
is the order of business followed in each daily session:
2. Executive Nominations
3. General Order
4. Third Reading
5. House Amendments to Senate Bills and Resolutions
6. Conference Committee Reports
7. Fourth Reading
8. Committee Reports
9. Second Reading
10. First Reading
12. Other Business
Override - to pass a bill after
the Governor has vetoed it. This requires a two-thirds vote of each
house (Three-fourths vote on emergency measures).
Passage - favorable action
on a measure before the Legislature.
Patronage - the control of
appointive jobs by a political party or person in power.
Per diem - daily expense allowance
Personal Privilege - right
of a member to speak on the floor regarding a subject not currently
being discussed or on the agenda.
Pocket Veto - failure of the
Governor to sign a measure within 15 days following sine die adjournment,
which results in veto without gubernatorial action. (See also "Veto".)
Point of order - motion calling
attention to an alleged breach of order or rules.
Pre-filing - filing of bills
and other proposed legislation prior to the convening of the regular
session of the Legislature. Bills may be prefiled beginning on November
15 of even-num-bered years and at any time during odd-numbered years.
President of the Senate - the
President Pro Tempore - a senator
chosen by his or her fellow members to be the chief executive officer
of the Senate and to preside in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor,
with powers and duties prescribed by Senate rules. The President
Pro Tempore is the effective leader of the Senate and is an ex officio
and voting member of all Senate com-mittees.
Presiding Officer - the senator
who chairs the daily session. There may be sev-eral pre-siding officers
during any daily session. The presiding officer must determine the
pres-ence of a quorum upon request, interpret the rules, maintain
order, recognize speakers, sign legis-lation that has passed and
control the voting machines.
Primary Election - see "Election".
Principal Author - the member
introducing and sponsoring a measure. A measure must have a principal
author from both houses at some time during the leg-islative process.
The principal authors' names appear first on the bill followed by
the names of any Coauthors. (See also "Coauthor".)
Printed Bill - the version
of a bill considered on the floor after a measure is reported out
of committee. The printed bill shows any amendments made by the
committee. This 6 x 9-inch printed bill is the one the members have
on their desks for consideration on the floor when the measure is
on general order.
Privilege of the Floor - permission
to view proceedings from the floor of the chamber rather than from
the gallery; request for such permission must be made by a legislator
to the presiding officer on behalf of constituents, relatives and
guests and must be approved by a simple majority. Registered lobbyists,
by Senate rule, may not be granted floor privileges.
Quorum - the number of the
members (usually more than half) required to be present in the chamber
or a committee meeting before business may be transacted.
Quorum call - a determination
as to whether or not a quorum is present.
Ratification - the act of approving
an amendment to the United States Constitution.
Readings - presentation of
a bill or joint resolution. Every measure must receive three read-ings
before pas-sage, none of which may be on the same day. A fourth
reading occurs at the time of final action.
First reading - the
measure is introduced and its title only is read for the first time.
The measure is assigned a number at this time.
Second reading - the title
of the measure is read for the second time and it is referred
Third reading - the measure
is read at length before a vote is taken.
Fourth reading - amendments
from the opposite house or a conference committee report on a
measure are read before a vote is taken. If a measure has passed
both houses in the same form, fourth reading occurs upon the signature
of the presiding officer.
Reapportionment - the redistricting
of the state for election purposes. (See also "Apportionment".)
Recall - to retrieve, by concurrent
resolution, a measure which has been presented to the Governor,
for the correction of errors.
Recede - to withdraw from an
amendment in which the opposite house refused to concur.
Recess - to suspend a meeting
of the Senate or a Senate committee.
Reconsider - to consider again
a vote on any action previously taken by the Legislature. (See also
"Motion to Reconsider".)
Refer - to send a measure to
committee for study and consideration.
Referendum - the method by
which a non-emergency measure adopted by the Legislature may be
submitted to the electorate for popular vote. Referendum may be
used to amend or repeal non-emergency measures passed by the Legislature.
Regular session - see "Session".
Repeal - the removal of an
entire section of law from the Oklahoma Statutes by the Legislature.
The repeal of a statute or statutes is accomplished by the insertion
of a repealer clause in a legislative measure which becomes law.
Rescind - to annul an action
Resolution - a formal expression
of the will, wish or direction of one or both houses.
Joint Resolution -
a resolution passed by both houses of the Legislature which, if
signed by the Governor, has the force and effect of law. Some Oklahoma
case law suggests that joint resolutions may only be used for temporary
laws and not for permanent laws. Joint resolutions which are not
signed by the Governor are also used to propose amendments to the
Oklahoma Constitution or to ratify amendments to the United States
Concurrent Resolution - a
resolution passed by both houses of the Legislature to ex-press
facts, principles, opinions, wishes and purposes of the Legislature.
Concurrent resolutions are also used to memorialize the President,
Congress, cabinet members or federal agencies on a certain course
of action. A concurrent resolution does not have the force and
effect of law except customarily insofar as for authorizing the
issuance of revenue bonds pursuant to section 4002.1 of title
Simple Resolution - a resolution
which expresses the opinion or will of one house only and does
not have the force and effect of law. It may be used for some
of the same purposes as a concurrent resolution; however, its
use is not as broad as to a concurrent resolution.
Roll Call Vote - a recorded
vote on a measure by which members respond either "aye" or "nay"
when their names are called or by indicating the same on an electronic
roll call machine. (See also "Voice Vote".)
Rules - provisions for the
procedure, organization, officers and committees of the Legislature.
Joint rules - govern
relationship between and matters affecting the two houses.
Senate and House rules -
govern matters affecting only one house.
Runoff Primary Election - see
Second Reading - see "Readings".
Secretary of the Senate - an
officer of the Senate (not a member) elected by the members to direct
the staff and oversee the preparation of daily printing and general
publications and the content of forms used by the Senate for various
reports and procedures. The Secretary is the custodian of all Senate
records and is directed to be of assistance to the President Pro
Tempore and the presiding officer. The Secretary of the Senate also
serves as the secretary of the State Election Board.
Select Committee - see "Committee".
Sergeant-at-Arms - an officer
of the Senate or House charged with maintaining order and carrying
out the directives of the presiding officers or the members.
Session - the period during
which the Legislature meets.
Regular session -
the annual session.
Daily session - each day's
Joint session - the meeting
of the two houses together. The Lieutenant Governor presides at
Extraordinary session or special
session - a special session of the Legislature called by the
Governor or by two-thirds of the members of the Legislature. If
called by the Governor, only those subjects enumerated by the
Governor may be considered.
Session Law Services - a series
of volumes containing all laws enacted during one year of the Legislature.
The volumes are printed at intervals. The first volume contains
all laws enacted up to the date of publication of that volume and
each volume thereafter contains all laws enacted after the publication
of the last volume.
Session Laws - a bound volume
containing all laws enacted during one year of the Legislature.
Shell Bill - a bill in which
the title and body of the original version have been stricken and
replaced with a title and body which may or may not relate specifically
to the provisions of the original bill.
Simple Majority - see "Majority".
Simple Resolution - see "Resolution".
Sine die - adjournment "without
day" being set for reconvening; final adjournment. The Legislature
is required to adjourn sine die no later than 5:00 on the last Friday
in May. (See also "Adjournment".)
Speaker - leader of the House
of Representatives, elected by all members thereof.
Special Committee - see "Committee".
Staff - the pool of persons
employed to provide services to the members of the Senate.
Personal staff - employed
by an individual member of the Senate.
Leadership staff - employed
by the President Pro Tempore.
Service staff - employed
by the Senate Chief of Staff and includes administrative, committee
and fiscal staffs.
Standing Committee - see "Committee".
Standing Rules - see "Rules".
Statute - a law enacted by
Statutes - a compilation of
all enacted laws currently in effect.
Strike the Title - to change
the title of a bill to a few words which are briefly descriptive
but constitutionally unacceptable. The major intent of this action
is to ensure that the bill will go to a conference committee. The
same effect may be achieved by striking the enacting clause. Any
Senate legislation being reported out of a Senate committee, with
the exception of an appropriation bill, must have an enacting clause
or resolving clause and a Senate and House author.
Supplement - an addendum to
the Oklahoma Statutes printed every year, with the exception of
once every ten years when the Oklahoma Statutes are published in
their entirety, with additions to or deletions from Oklahoma laws
to bring them up to date and to correct any errors.
Table - to lay aside for future
discussion, usually with a view to postponing or shelving the matter
Third Reading - see "Readings".
Title - a concise statement
of the contents of a bill, prepared as a preface to the bill, as
required by the Oklahoma Constitution. The purpose of the title
of a bill is to alert the reader to the contents of the bill. Titles
which inaccurately perform this function may cause court challenge
of the measure, resulting in the striking of any contents of the
bill not reflected in the title.
Unanimous Consent - agreement
to take certain procedural actions unless one or more members voices
Unicameral Legislature - a
Legislature consisting of one house. Nebraska is the only state
with a unicameral Legislature. (See also "Bicameral
Upper House - the Senate.
Veto - disapproval by the Governor
of a measure. The measure is then sent back to the Legislature with
the objections. (See also "Pocket Veto".)
Voice Vote - a non-roll call
vote by which members respond orally by "aye" or "nay". (See also
"Roll Call Vote".)