From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms
Reading of Bills
Rand Paul Refuses to Vote Without Reading the Bill
Traditional parliamentary procedure required bills to be read three times before they were passed. This custom is of little modern significance. Normally a bill is considered to have its first reading when it is introduced and printed, by title, in the Congressional Record. In the House, its second reading comes when floor consideration begins. (This is the most likely point at which there is an actual reading of the bill, if there is any.) The second reading in the Senate is supposed to occur on the legislative day after the measure is introduced but before it is referred to committee. The third reading (again, usually by title) takes place when floor action has been completed on amendments.
Second Reading: Required reading of a bill or joint resolution to a chamber: in the House, in full before floor consideration in the House or Committee of the Whole (usually dispensed with by unanimous consent or special rule); in the Senate, by title only, before referral to a committee. Under Senate Rule XIV, if objection is made to further proceedings on the measure after the second reading, it is placed directly on the calendar.
Third Reading: Required reading of bill or joint resolution to chamber before vote on final passage; usually a pro forma procedural step.
Sen. Rand Paul Speaks Out Against Senators Voting without Reading the Bills – 6/29/12
- Also see Bills Introduced
- § 6.20, Drafting and Introducing Legislation, in Congressional Deskbook
- Chapter 2.M. Senate Rule XIV; Chapter 4.K. Final Passage; Chapter 5.N. Final Passage; in Congressional Procedure
- “The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction,” CRS Report 96-548 (20-page PDF)
- “The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction,” CRS Report 95-563 (18-page PDF)
- “The Amending Process in the House of Representatives,” CRS Report 98-995 (49-page PDF)
- “Amendment Process in the Committee of the Whole,” CRS Report 98-439 (8-page PDF)
- “Bypassing Senate Committees: Rule XIV and Unanimous Consent,” CRS Report RS22299 (17-page PDF)
- “Senate Rule XIV Procedure for Placing Measures Directly on the Senate Calendar,” CRS Report RS22309 (8-page PDF)
- “How Measures Are Brought to the Senate Floor: A Brief Introduction,” CRS Report RS20668 (10-page PDF)
- “House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies,” CRS Report R41083 (220-page PDF)
- “The Senate’s ‘Calendar of Business’,” CRS Report 98-429 (6-page PDF)
- Congressional Operations Briefing – Capitol Hill Workshop
- Drafting Federal Legislation and Amendments
- Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing
- Custom Training
- Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments in a Nutshell, Audio Course on CD
- Congress, the Legislative Process, and the Fundamentals of Lawmaking Series, a Nine-Course series on CD
Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide
Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates
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