http://www.oslpr.org DRAFTING A BILL OF LAW Resource: Maritza Torres-Rivera Francisco J. Domenech, Esq. Director
Legislative Proceedings A group of efforts directed to the creation, amendment or repeal of a law Legislative proceedings are governed by the provisions of Article III, Section 17 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Article III, Section 17; 1 L.P.R.A. Historical Documents (1999)
… Their Different Stages: I Initiative Whether by motu proprio or by particular Petition, the Legislator introduces a Bill for consideration and eventual approval.. II Research Process whereby the circumstances which motivated the measure are examined, as well as the current body of laws and the possible consequences and scope. III Filing the bill The legislative machinery is set in motion by introducing the Bill, in its original and 5 copies. It is then referred to the corresponding Committees. IV study/ discussion, signing by Both bodies Having been approved by the majority of the total members of the Houses, the Bill is submitted to the Governor for his/her approval. V Approval/ signing by the Governor With the signature of approval of the Governor, the measure becomes a Law. VI Promulgation The Secretary of State publicizes the law.
No bill shall become a law unless it has been printed, read, referred to a committee and returned therefrom with a written report… Article III, Section 17. Legislative Proceedings; 1 L.P.R.A. Historical Documents (1999) Did you know that the Constitution itself provides that…
Every bill, except for general appropriation bills, shall be confined to one subject, which shall be clearly stated in its title, and any part of an act whose subject has not been expressed in its title shall be void. Article III, Section 17. Legislative Proceedings; 1 L.P.R.A. Historical Documents (1999) Did you know that the Constitution itself provides that…
Rules The powers of the Legislature issue primarily from the Constitution of Puerto Rico. Each house… shall adopt rules for its own proceedings appropriate to legislative bodies.. Article III, Section 9. Powers of Each House; 1 L.P.R.A. Historical Documents (1999) Therefore, in June 30, 1974, Act No. 258 was approved, which reasserted in Section 1 that: the Legislature shall promulgate its own rules for the administration of the Legislative Branch and its dependencies.
Rules Rules of the Senate of Puerto Rico, adopted by virtue of S. R. 11 of January 10, 2005 Rules of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, adopted by virtue of H. R. 1 de January 2, 2005
DraftingDrafting Introduction Printing Processing Steps to Follow When Creating A Bill
Enacting Clause Sections Amendments to Laws in Effect Numbering Format Heading Title Statement of Motives Drafting
Format Heading Title Statement of Motives (optional) Enacting Clause Sections If any of these parts is missing, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House will not accept the bill for introduction until it is corrected. Rules (House §14.5/Senate §15.4)
Heading The heading of all measures shall bear the number corresponding to the Legislature in which they are being introduced, as well as the number of the Session-- whether Regular or Specialto which the measures belong. The format of said heading, which shall be strictly observed, shall be the following: Rules (House §14.6/Senate §15.5)
The number corresponding to the Legislature in which it is being introduced.
The number of the Regular or Special Session to which the measure belongs
Title of the Bill of Law This title shall be brief, clear and concise; it shall state the scope and provide a brief description of the measure. Rules (House §14.7/Senate §15.6)
When the Intent is: to amend an act or a joint resolution in effect– it shall indicate the name (if any), the parts (object of the amendment), the article, section, subsection or clause applicable, the number of the act, its date of approval, and whether the same has been amended.
When the Intent is: to amend a Code– it shall include the name by which it is commonly known.
Statement of Motives An expression of the reasons which make the measure deserving of approval. The Statement of Motives shall be as explanatory and yet as succint as possible. Rules (House §14.8/Senate §15.7)
Enacting Clause All Bills of Law shall have an Enacting Clause, to be included after the Statement of Motives, if any. Should there be no Statement of Motives, the Enacting Clause shall be included after the Title. Rules (House §14.9/Senate §15.8)
Sections This refers to the text in which provisions are made within the Bill of Law. Rules (House §14.10/Senate §15.09)
Amendment to Acts in Effect In those cases in which the measure being introduced amends a measure in effect: –[bold] – the parts that are being eliminated from the text, if any, shall appear in bold letters and in brackets ([ ]). –Italics – the parts being added to the text, if any, shall appear in italics. –Regular letters shall be used for those parts of the text for which the legislative intent is to keep them unaltered. Rules (House §14.11/Senate §15.10)
Duplication of Measures Elimination of Original Legislative Measures Any original measure shall be rendered ineffective and be removed from any step in processing or from any statistic account in relation to pending legislative measures when the House or the Senate have approved a measure in substitution thereof. Rules (House §14.18/Senate §15.18)
… but I wish to co-author the measure! The first name appearing on any legislative measure shall be the authors. Names that follow shall be those of the co-authors. Rules (House §14.13/Senate §15.12)
What if after having introduced a measure, I wish to withdraw it? A measure may be withdrawn by its author or authors, as the case may be, by so notifying orally or in writing to the Body at any time before the report of any of the Committees to which it was referred has been filed. Rules (House §14.17/Senate §15.17)
Who can introduce a Bill of Law? Only legislators and the standing committees have the authority to introduce a Bill of Law. Rules (House §14.2/Senate §15.1)
Introducing a Bill by Petition Legislators may introduce legislative measures by petition of any citizen, group or organization with an interest on the matter. Such a request shall be recorded on the heading of the measure by including beside the signature of the legislator the phrase (By Petition). Rules (House §18.1/ Senate §19.1)
Endorsement of a Legislative Measure When a legislator introduces any legislative measure by petition, he or she shall be under no obligation to endorse the same unless he or she wishes to do so. Rules (House §18.2/ Senate §19.2)
Summary Amendments Duplication of Measures Introduction of Measure by Petition Co-authorship Withdrawal of Measures Legislative Proceedings Different Stages Rules Drafting –Numbering –Format –Heading –Title –Statement of Motives –Enacting Clause –Sections