6/1/20142 Courtesy of the Juneau Legislative Information Office
6/1/20143 The Alaska Legislature The Alaska Legislature meets each year in Juneau. Each legislature consists of two sessions, lasting for a period of 90 days each.
6/1/20144 Senate House of Representatives Our legislature is bicameral. That means that it is composed of two chambers. They are the House of Representatives and the Senate.
6/1/20145 The Senate has twenty members who serve four year terms, and is presided over by the Senate President. Each member represents one of the twenty senate districts in the state.
6/1/20146 Each senate district has two corresponding house districts. The House of Representatives has forty members who serve two year terms, and is presided over by the Speaker of the House. For example: Senate District B encompasses House District 3 House District 4
6/1/20147 The Idea Bills, and ultimately laws, all begin as ideas. An idea can come from a legislator, group of legislators, a committee, the governor, a professional group, a lobbyist, an individual citizen, etc. The idea for a bill can come from you!
6/1/20148 The Bill All bills must be introduced by a legislator, a legislative committee, or the governor via the Rules Committee. Therefore, your idea must be communicated to one of these folks, who will sponsor the bill.
6/1/20149 Introduction and Reading First, the bill is drafted and printed. This is done by the Legislative Affairs Agency, Legal Services. Next, the bill is introduced by the sponsor during floor session of either the House or the Senate, depending on which house (body) the bill originated in. This is known as the first reading. During this reading the bill is referred to committee(s).
6/1/201410 Legislative Committees Each body has ten standing committees which consider issues within their jurisdictions. They are: Education Finance Health & Social Services Judiciary Labor & Commerce Community & Regional Affairs Resources Rules State Affairs Transportation
6/1/201411 Each committee has an odd number of members and is presided over by a chairperson. In order to conduct business, half the number of members, plus one, must be present. This is called a quorum.
6/1/201412 Once a bill has been referred to committee, a hearing(s) may be held. The sponsor presents the bill to the committee, public testimony is heard and the committee members discuss and argue (debate) the matter. Modifications, additions or deletions to the bill may be suggested and adopted. These are called amendments.
6/1/201413 When formal debate has concluded, the members vote to move the bill out of committee. The bill then moves on to its next committee of referral. After the bill has moved through all its committees of referral, it is scheduled for floor action in the house of origin.
6/1/201414 Lets say the bill originated in the House of Representatives. It will now be put to the full House for debate, and further amendment. This is called the second reading.
6/1/201415 After amendments have been offered and voted on in second reading, the bill moves on to the third reading usually on the next day the House convenes. Here, it is voted on for final passage (an affirmative vote by a majority of the full body).
6/1/201416 If the bill requires further amendment, it is returned to second reading. If it does not require further amendment, and the bill passes the House, it must go through the same process in the Senate.
6/1/201417 If the bill travels through the entire process in the Senate without further amendment, it is considered to have passed both houses. The final version of the bill is then signed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and delivered to the Governor.
6/1/201418 At this point, the Governor may sign the bill into law, allow the bill to become law without his/her signature, or veto the bill. A veto is an official action by the Governor which nullifies the action of the legislature. If the bill has not been vetoed, it will become law ninety days later, unless a different effective date is specified.
6/1/201419 From a Bill to an Act to a Law Now that the bill has become law it is called an act. The act is given a chapter number and becomes a session law. Session laws are reviewed by the Legislative Affairs Agency and then sent to be published.
6/1/201420 That which began as an idea has become law and is now part of the codified body of laws, enacted by the Legislature, and known as the Alaska Statutes. Alaska Statutes
6/1/201421 If you would like more detailed information about the legislative process or about the Alaska Legislature in general, please visit our website at: www.legis.state.ak.us