HOR Glossary of Terms
Missouri House of Representatives
Glossary Of Legislative Terminology
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Adjourn The act of closing business, done by a committee or the House
or Senate. See also Sine Die.
Adoption A preliminary action of the House or Senate
or of a committee in considering amendments and substitutes. Amendments are
adopted. Committee substitutes are adopted before they are voted do pass by
a committee or perfected by the House or Senate. House or Senate substitutes
are adopted before they are perfected or third read by the House or Senate.
Conference committee reports are adopted before the bill or amendments they
recommend are third read. Ordinarily the final action on a House or Senate resolution
Amendment A modification of a bill or another amendment,
offered in committee (a House or Senate committee amendment), on the floor (a
House or Senate amendment), or in conference committee (a conference committee
amendment). See also Perfecting Amendment.
Appropriations Bill A bill to appropriate state
and federal funds to the uses of state government. The first 25 House bill numbers
are reserved for appropriations bills each session.
Bill An enactment of the General Assembly which (1) changes the law either
by adding new statutes, repealing old statutes, or modifying current statutes
or (2) appropriates public money. A bill introduced in the House is called a
House bill and a bill introduced in the Senate is called a Senate bill. Bills
are numbered consecutively upon introduction starting with the first regular
session and continuing through the second regular session.
Calendar The order of business of the House and Senate. The calendar
contains bills, resolutions, and reports in various stages of consideration.
Caucus A voluntary organization of members of the
House or Senate. Each chamber has partisan caucuses as well as caucuses organized
around geographical and interest groups. The partisan caucuses normally meet
in closed session.
Chair The head of a committee or any person presiding
over a meeting of a committee or of the House or Senate.
Chief Clerk An officer of the House, in charge of
monitoring House proceedings and maintaining House records.
Committee A select group of members with a defined
scope of responsibility. See Conference Committee,
Standing Committee, Joint Committee,
Special Committee, and Statutory Committee.
Companion Bills Bills introduced in both the House
and the Senate in identical form.
A resolution that is passed by both the House and the Senate. It may originate
in either body. If it has the effect of law, it must be handled like a bill.
A committee made up of five members of
each chamber, appointed to resolve differences between the two chambers on a
bill or joint resolution passed by both but in a different form.
Confirmation Approval of an appointment to office
by the Governor. The constitution gives this power to the state Senate.
Consent Bill A non-controversial bill which does
not cost anything to implement and does not reduce revenues. There are limitations
on amending a consent bill.
The constitution requires approval by
a majority of members elected to the Senate and to the House for a bill to be
considered passed. This is 18 members in the Senate and 82 members in the House.
Co-Sponsor Used in place
of "Sponsor" when two or more members of the House or two or more members of
the Senate jointly introduce a bill.
Do Pass (Voted or Reported) A bill that is voted "do pass" is approved
by a committee. A bill that is reported "do pass" has been returned by the committee
to the full House with this approval. A bill can also be voted and reported
"do not pass", indicating disapproval.
Division of the Question A dividing of any item
of business before a committee or the House or Senate into parts, so that separate
votes are held on each part.
Drafting Number (LR Number) A unique number assigned
to a bill or amendment indicating the drafting source.
Effective Date The date on which a bill takes effect. If no effective
date is specified, the constitution makes the effective date ninety days after
adjournment of the session in which the bill was passed. (August 28th when a
bill is passed in a regular session).
Election Contest A challenge by a person declared
the loser in an election for the House. Under the state constitution the House
is the sole judge of its members and decides election contests.
Emergency Clause A clause on a bill declaring an
emergency and making a bill or part of a bill effective sooner than 90 days
after the session in which it is passed. It requires a two-thirds vote of each
Executive Session A meeting of a committee to conduct
business, usually vote on bills referred to the committee.
Filibuster A delaying of action by extending debate. It occurs
in the Senate, where members have the right to unlimited
debate. In the House, a member is limited by rule to fifteen minutes of
debate on a bill or amendment.
Fiscal Note An estimate of the effect a bill will
have upon state and local revenues.
Fiscal Year A twelve month period by which financial
planning and accounting is done. The fiscal year for Missouri state government
begins July 1 of each year and is referred to by the number of the calendar
year in which it ends.
Floor Leaders Each party selects a floor leader.
The majority floor leader controls the order of business of the chamber. The
minority leader represents the interests of the minority party.
General Revenue State revenues which are not designated for a specific
use but which may be appropriated for any legal use.
Germane Pertaining to the subject matter of the
item of business being considered. Amendments are required to be germane to
the bill to which they are offered.
Grandfather Clause A provision in a bill which exempts
persons or entities from the bill on the basis of their status on a certain
date, usually the effective date of the bill.
Handler The member who manages a bill on the floor of the House or Senate.
In the chamber of origin, the handler is either the sponsor or, in the case
of a committee substitute, a member designated by the chair of the committee
from which the committee substitute was reported. In the other chamber, it is
the Representative or Senator chosen by the sponsor or, in the case of a committee
substitute, a member designated by the chair of the committee from which the
committee substitute was reported.
Hearing A meeting of a committee of the House or
Senate to receive testimony from the public on a bill or topic.
Impeachment An indictment of a statewide elected official or a state
judge for crime or misconduct in office. The constitution gives the power of
impeachment to the House of Representatives.
Inquiry A member asking questions of another member
in the course of floor debate. A member must consent to being inquired of.
Interim The period of time between the adjournment
of one session of the General Assembly and the convening of the next regular
session (June through December).
A committee established to meet during the interim, usually to consider legislation
on a particular topic.
Joint Committee A committee made up of
both members of the House and members of the Senate. These are normally interim
or statutory committees.
An enactment of the General Assembly that places a proposed amendment to the
state constitution before the voters for approval or that approves an amendment
to the U. S. constitution. If introduced in the House it is a House Joint Resolution.
If introduced in the Senate it is a Senate Joint Resolution.
Joint Rules Procedural guidelines adopted by the
House and the Senate to govern interaction between the two bodies.
Joint Session A session of both the House and Senate.
Joint sessions are held in the House chamber and are normally called to hear
the Governor or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Journal The record of the proceedings of the House
and the Senate.
Line Item A specific appropriation within an appropriation bill.
Line Item Veto A veto by the Governor of a line
Lobbyist A person who attempts to influence the
legislative process as a part of his or her job or under hire by someone else.
Majority One more than half of any body. See also
Majority Party The party holding a majority of the
seats in the House or the Senate.
Minority Party A party holding less than a majority
of the seats in the House or the Senate.
Perfecting Amendment In the House,
a technical amendment that is offered after a bill has been perfected. In the
Senate, a technical amendment. A perfecting amendment can also be offered in
one chamber on a bill that has been returned to it by the other chamber.
Perfection The process of considering a bill in
which the bill is subject to amendments. At the conclusion of this process,
upon a favorable vote, a bill is order perfected and printed, which means that
any amendments adopted are incorporated into the printed bill.
Personal Privilege A right of a member to speak
on a matter of personal concern.
Point of Order A challenge to the procedure that
is being followed or to the germaneness of an amendment or substitute.
President The Lieutenant Governor is the President
of the Senate. The only power the President has is to preside over Senate business
and over joint sessions and to vote in case of a tie.
President Pro Tempore The leader of the Senate,
elected by the Senate. The full title was originally President Pro Tempore,
which means Temporary President.
Previous Question A motion to end debate on the
matter before the chamber.
Privileged Motion A motion that takes precedence
over other motions and must be acted upon when offered.
Quorum The number of members required for a body to do business. The
rules of each chamber set this number for committees. The state constitution
requires a majority of members to be present for the House and the Senate to
RSMo Abbreviation for
Revised Statutes of Missouri, the codification of Missouri laws.
Reading A term used to indicate a step in the legislative
process. First reading occurs when a bill is introduced, second reading when
it is referred to committee, and third reading when it is approved by a constitutional
majority of a chamber.
Reconsider A motion to reopen a question that has
been previously decided.
Referendum A vote of the people upon a law already
enacted by the General Assembly or upon a proposal to change the law.
Referral to Committee The
Missouri Constitution required that every bill be referred to committee.
In the House, the Speaker and, in the Senate, the President Pro Tem make the
referrals. Once a committee has a bill referred to it, it may hold a hearing
on the bill and recommend the bill to the full chamber with amendments or a
Resolution An act of the
House or Senate or of both together that ordinarily has no effect of law. It
either commends some achievement, expresses an opinion, urges another entity
such as Congress to take some action, or takes some internal action such as
establishing a committee. See also Concurrent
Resolution and Joint Resolution.
Roll Call The taking of votes by individual member
either in committee or in the full chamber. In the House chamber roll
calls are conducted by electronic means. In the Senate they are done by
orally polling senators one at a time. The state constitution requires
the House and the Senate to take a roll call vote ("a vote by yeas and
nays") on final passage of a bill, on adoption of conference reports, and
on concurrence in amendments by the other chamber, but grants any five members
the right to have a roll call on any question (Mo. constitution Article III,
Sections 26 and 27). House and Senate roll calls are recorded in the House
and the Senate. Committee roll calls are recorded in minute books kept
by each committee and filed in the Missouri State Archives at the end of each
The procedural guidelines adopted by the House for its business and the Senate
for its business.
Secretary of the Senate An officer of the Senate who monitors Senate
floor proceedings and maintains the records of the Senate.
Session That part of the year when the General Assembly
may meet to conduct business. The regular session is January through May. The
session in odd-numbered years is called the first regular session; that in even-numbered
years is called the second regular session. See also
Special Session and Veto Session.
Sine Die The final adjournment
of a session of the General Assembly, literally, without day. For a regular
session, this must occur no later than May 30th.
Speaker The presiding officer of the House and normally
leader of the majority party of the House. The Speaker is elected by the House.
Speaker Pro Tem An officer of the House who presides
in the absence of the Speaker. The full title was originally Speaker Pro Temore
which means Temporary Speaker.
Special Committee In the House, a committee
established by the Speaker.
Special Session A
session of the General Assembly called by the Governor or by two-thirds of the
members of the House and Senate to consider specific business.
Sponsor The member of the House or the member of
the Senate who introduces a bill. The sponsor is sometimes called the author.
Also see "Co-sponsor."
A committee established by the Rules.
A committee established by law.
Substitute A replacement for the item of business
under consideration. There are substitute amendments and substitute bills. If
a substitute bill is offered by a committee it is called a committee substitute.
If a substitute is offered when the bill is being perfected, it is called a
House Substitute or a Senate Substitute. If it is offered by a conference committee
it is called a Conference Committee Substitute.
Title A part of a bill which gives notice of the subject of the bill
and the sections of current law that will be affected by the bill.
Truly Agree to and Finally Pass The final action
on a bill, sending it to the Governor or to the people.
Veto The rejection by the Governor of an act of the General Assembly.
Veto Session A session
of the General Assembly to consider overriding vetoes of the Governor. If any
bill is vetoed late in or after the end of a regular session, a veto session
is held starting on the Wednesday following the second Monday in September.
Missouri House of Representatives