Bill (law)

A bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature.[1] A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act of the legislature, or a statute. Bills are introduced in the legislature and are discussed, debated and voted upon.

Legislative procedure uk
A graphic representation of the legislative procedure in the Parliament of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Countries. (The names of Legislative Chambers vary throughout the Commonwealth.) In the circumstances of republics, Royal Assent is substituted with Presidential Assent.


The term bill is primarily used in Anglophone nations. In the United Kingdom, the parts of a bill are known as clauses, until it has become an act of parliament, from which time the parts of the law are known as sections.[2]

In Napoleonic law nations (including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal), a proposed law may be known as a "law project" (Fr. projet de loi), which is a government-introduced bill, or a "law proposition" (Fr. proposition de loi), a private member's bill. For example the Dutch parliamentary system does not make this terminological distinction (wetsontwerp and wetsvoorstel being used interchangeably).


The preparation of a bill may involve the production of a draft bill prior to the introduction of the bill into the legislature.[3] In the United Kingdom, draft bills are frequently considered to be confidential.[4] Pre-legislative scrutiny is a formal process carried out by a parliamentary committee on a draft bill.[5] It is required in much of Scandinavia, occurs in Ireland at the discretion of the Oireachtas (parliament) and occurs in the UK at the government's discretion.[6]

In the Parliament of Ireland under Poynings' Law (1494–1782) legislation had to be pre-approved by the Privy Council of Ireland and Privy Council of England, so in practice each bill was substantively debated as "heads of a bill", then submitted to the privy councils for approval, and finally formally introduced as a bill and rejected or passed unamended.[7]


In the Westminster system, where the executive is drawn from the legislature and usually holds a majority in the lower house, most bills are introduced by the executive (government bill). In principle, the legislature meets to consider the demands of the executive, as set out in the Queen's Speech or Speech from the Throne.

While mechanisms exist to allow other members of the legislature to introduce bills, these are subject to strict timetables and usually fail unless a consensus is reached. In the US system, where the executive is formally separated from the legislature, all bills must originate from the legislature. Bills can be introduced using the following procedures:

  • Leave: A motion is brought before the chamber asking that leave be given to bring in a bill. This is used in the British system in the form of the Ten Minute Rule motion. The legislator has 10 minutes to propose a bill, which can then be considered by the House on a day appointed for the purpose. While this rule remains in place in the rules of procedure of the US Congress, it is seldom used.
  • Government motion: In jurisdictions where the executive can control legislative business a bill may be brought in by executive fiat.

Legislative stages

Bills are generally considered through a number of readings. This refers to the historic practice of the clerical officers of the legislature reading the contents of a bill to the legislature. While the bill is no longer read, the motions on the bill still refer to this practice.

In the British/Westminster system, a bill is read the first time when it is introduced. This is accompanied by an order that the bill be printed and considered again. At the second reading the general merits of the bill are considered – it is out of order to criticise a bill at this stage for technical defects in drafting. After the second reading the bill is referred to a committee, which considers the bill line by line proposing amendments. The committee reports to the legislature, at which stage further amendments are proposed. Finally a third reading debate at which the bill as amended is considered in its entirety. In a bicameral legislature the process is repeated in the other house, before the Bill is submitted to the executive for approval.

Enactment and after

Where a piece of primary legislation is termed an act, the process of a bill becoming law may be termed enactment. Once a bill is passed by the legislature, it may automatically become law, or it may need further approval, in which case enactment may be effected by the approver's signature or proclamation.


Bills passed by the legislature usually require the approval of the executive such as the monarch, president, or governor to become law.[8] Exceptions are the Irish Free State from the abolition of the Governor-General in December 1936 to the creation of the office of President in December 1937, and Israel from its formation until today, during which period bills approved by the Oireachtas and Knesset respectively became/become law immediately (Though, in Israel's case, the laws are ceremonially signed after their passage by the President).

In parliamentary systems, approval of the executive is normally a formality, since the head of state is directed by an executive controlled by the legislature. In constitutional monarchies, this approval is called royal assent. In rare cases approval may be refused or "reserved" by the head of state's use of a reserve power. The legislature may have significantly less power to introduce bills on such issues and may require the approval beforehand. In Commonwealth realms the royal prerogative informs this. In the United Kingdom, for example, cases include payments to the royal family, succession to the throne, and the monarch's exercise of prerogative powers.

In presidential systems, the need to receive approval can be used as a political tool by the executive, and its refusal is known as a veto. The legislature may be able to override the veto by means of a supermajority vote.

In some jurisdictions a bill passed by the legislature may also require approval by a constitutional court. If the court finds the bill would violate the constitution it may annul it or send it back to the legislature for correction. In Ireland, the President has discretion under Article 26 of the Constitution to refer bills to the Supreme Court. In Germany the Federal Constitutional Court has discretion to rule on bills.

Some bills may require approval by referendum. In Ireland this is obligatory for bills to amend the constitution; it is possible for other bills via a process that has never been used.


A bill may come into force as soon as it becomes law, or it may specify a later date to come into force, or it may specify by whom and how it may be brought into force; for example, by ministerial order. Different parts of an act may come into force at different times.

An act is typically promulgated by being published in an official gazette. This may be required on enactment, coming into force, or both.

Numbering of bills

Legislatures give bills numbers as they progress.

In the United States, all bills originating in the House of Representatives begin with "H.R." and all bills originating from the Senate begin with an "S.". Every two years, at the start of odd-numbered years, the United States Congress recommences numbering from 1, though for bills the House has an order reserving the first 20 bill numbers and the Senate has similar measures for the first 10 bills. Joint resolutions also have the same effect as bills, and are titled as "H. J. Res." or "S. J. Res." depending on whether they originated in the House or Senate, respectively. This means that two different bills can have the same number. Each two-year span is called a congress, tracking the terms of Representatives elected in the nationwide biennial House of Representatives elections, and each congress is divided into year-long periods called sessions.[9]

In the United Kingdom, for example, the Coroners and Justice Act in 2009 started as Bill 9 in the House of Commons. Then it became Bill 72 on consideration by the Committee, after that it became House of Lords Bill 33. Then it became House of Lords Bill 77, returned to the House of Commons as Bill 160 before finally being passed as Act no. 29.[10][11] Parliament recommences numbering from one at the beginning of each session. This means that two different bills may have the same number. Sessions of parliament usually last a year. They begin with the State Opening of Parliament, and end with Prorogation.

In the Irish Oireachtas, bills are numbered sequentially from the start of each calendar year. Bills originating in the Dáil and Seanad share a common sequence. There are separate sequences for public and private bills, the latter prefixed with "P". Although acts to amend the constitution are outside the annual sequence used for other public acts, bills to amend the constitution are within the annual sequence of public bills.[12]

See also


  1. ^ [1] - Education 2020: Government course; topic House of Representatives (USA), definition of bill: "A proposed law presented to a legislative body for consideration."
  2. ^ UK Parliament Retrieved 15 July 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Hilaire Barnett. Constitutional and Administrative Law. Second Edition. Cavendish. 1998. Page 537.
  4. ^ Bradley and Ewing. Constitutional and Administrative Law. Twelfth Edition. Longman. 1997. Page 718.
  5. ^ "Glossary page — Pre-legislative scrutiny". UK Parliament. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Pre-legislative scrutiny (PLS) by parliament" (PDF). Spotlight. Oireachtas.
  7. ^ Kelly, James (2006). "The making of law in eighteenth-century Ireland : the significance and import of Poynings' law". In Dawson, Norma (ed.). Reflections on Law and History: Irish Legal History Society Discourses and Other Papers, 2000–2005. Irish Legal History Society. 17. Four Courts Press. pp. 259–277. ISBN 9781851829378.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "GovTrack: Search Legislation in Congress". Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  10. ^ "Coroners and Justice Bill 2008–09". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Coroners and Justice Act 2009" (PDF). Office of Public Sector Information. 12 November 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  12. ^ For example, the list of Oireachtas bills for 2002 includes numbers 31 and 32 (constitutional amendments) 45 and 47 (originating in Seanad) 46 (originating in Dáil) and P1 (private).

External links

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34.788%...Complete is the fifth album by My Dying Bride, released on 6 October 1998. The track "Under Your Wings and into Your Arms" appears on both The Voice of the Wretched CD and the Sinamorata DVD, and the opening track, "The Whore, the Cook and the Mother" appeared on their latest live DVD, An Ode to Woe.

The Japanese version of the album featured a bonus track, entitled "Follower". This track was also featured on the 2003 re-release digipak of the album.

The album was dedicated to the memory of Richard Jackson, father of bassist Adrian.

Cetacean Conservation Center

The Cetacean Conservation Center (Centro de Conservación Cetacea or CCC) is a Chilean NGO dedicated to the conservation of cetaceans and other marine mammals that inhabit the coastal waters of Chile. The CCC also engages in public education and information campaigns at the national and regional level.

Collective title

A collective title is an expression by which two or more pieces of legislation may, under the law of the United Kingdom, be cited together. A famous example is the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949.

Concurrent resolution

A concurrent resolution is a resolution (a legislative measure) adopted by both houses of a bicameral legislature that lacks the force of law (is non-binding) and does not require the approval of the chief executive (president). Concurrent resolutions are typically adopted to regulate the internal affairs of the legislature that adopted them, or for other purposes, if authority of law is not necessary (such as in the cases of awards or recognitions).

Fred Humes

Fred Humes (June 15, 1896 – January 3, 1971) was an American actor best known for his work in Western films.

Humes was born and educated in Pittsburgh.He appeared in the films Ride for Your Life, The Ridin' Kid from Powder River, The Hurricane Kid, The Saddle Hawk, Let 'er Buck, The Yellow Back, Prowlers of the Night, The Stolen Ranch, Blazing Days, One Glorious Scrap, Put 'Em Up, Circus Rookies, Battling with Buffalo Bill, Law and Order, Clancy of the Mounted, The Cactus Kid, Sunset Range, The Roaring West and The Day the Bookies Wept, among others.

Great Canadian Theatre Company

The Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) is a professional theatre company based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1975 by a group of professors and graduate students at Carleton University. Riding a wave of cultural nationalism, founders Robin Mathews, Larry McDonald, Bill Law, Greg Reid and Lois Shannon envisioned a theatre company that would produce only Canadian plays, especially those with social and political relevance. Driven by a dream to place Canadian stories and Canadian history front and centre in our country’s universities and theatres, the company launched its first production in August 1975.The group has its origins in a season of Canadian theatre produced by the Sock 'n' Buskin Theatre Company at Carleton University. From Carleton, the company moved to a converted firehall in Ottawa South (presently the Ottawa South Community Centre) and then, in 1982, to the Gladstone Theatre on Gladstone Avenue. In September 2007 the company moved into a larger venue called the Irving Greenberg Theatre CentreThe Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, which includes a 262-seat mainstage theatre, a flexible black box studio theatre, and two spacious lobbies, has allowed GCTC to expand its community-based activities. More than 35,000 people visit the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre every year to see productions by GCTC and other live performing arts companies, for concerts such as the Acoustic Waves music series, to visit the Lorraine Fritzi Yale Art Gallery, rent the facility, or to enjoy local homemade fare at the Viva Loca Café.

The September 2007 issue of (Cult)ure Magazine described the GCTC as "Ottawa’s pre-eminent promoter of Canadian theatrical content."

Among playwrights whose works have been performed by the company are:

Jean-Marc Dalpé

David French

Linda Griffiths

Wendy Lill

Ann-Marie MacDonald

Arthur Milner

Morris Panych

Judith Thompson

Michel Tremblay

George F. Walker

Joint resolution

In the United States Congress, a joint resolution is a legislative measure that requires passage by the Senate and the House of Representatives and is presented to the President for his approval or disapproval. Generally, there is no legal difference between a joint resolution and a bill. Both must be passed, in exactly the same form, by both chambers of Congress, and signed by the President (or, re-passed in override of a presidential veto; or, remain unsigned for ten days while Congress is in session) to become a law. Only joint resolutions may be used to propose amendments to the United States Constitution and these do not require the approval of the President. Laws enacted by joint resolutions are not distinguished from laws enacted by bills, except that they are designated as resolutions as opposed to Acts of Congress (see for example War Powers Resolution).

While either a bill or joint resolution can be used to create a law, the two generally have different purposes. Bills are generally used to add, repeal, or amend laws codified in the United States Code or Statutes at Large, and provide policy and program authorizations. Regular annual appropriations are enacted through bills. Conversely, joint resolutions generally are vehicles for purposes such as the following:

Authorizing small appropriations

For continuing resolutions, which extend appropriation levels adopted in a prior fiscal year, when one or more of the annual appropriations acts have been temporarily delayed from becoming law on time

Creating temporary commissions or other ad hoc bodies (e.g., the 9/11 Commission)

Creating temporary exceptions to existing law, such as joint resolutions providing a day other than January 6 for counting electoral votes or providing for a Saxbe fix reducing the pay of an office so that a member of Congress may avoid the Ineligibility Clause

Declaring war

Terminating national emergency declarations

Amending the Constitution of the United States

Lorry Greenberg

Lawrence "Lorry" Greenberg (31 December 1933 – 30 June 1999) was Mayor of Ottawa, Ontario from 1975 to 1978.

He graduated from Lisgar Collegiate in 1952. He was one of the founding members of Minto Developments Inc., but left the company in 1960. While mayor, Greenberg was a proponent of community-based planning.

He died of heart failure in 1999 at the Ottawa Heart Institute, aged 65.

My Dying Bride

My Dying Bride are an English doom metal band formed in Bradford in 1990. To date, My Dying Bride have released twelve full-length studio albums, three EPs, one demo, one box set, four compilation albums, one live album, and one live CD/DVD release.

Along with Anathema and Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride were a forerunner of the death doom metal and gothic metal genres during the early 1990s. The band is considered part of the "Peaceville Three" as all three bands were signed to Peaceville Records at the time.

Reading (legislature)

A reading of a bill is a debate on the bill held by a general body of a legislature.

In the Westminster legislative system, developed in the United Kingdom, there are often several readings of a bill as it passes through the stages becoming, or failing to become, legislation. Some of these readings may be formalities rather than actual debate.

Shaun Steels

Shaun 'Winter' Taylor- Steels (born Shaun Steels, 22 August 1970) is a British heavy metal drummer and bassist. Shaun is of Scottish and Norwegian descent on his mother's side of the family.

Taylor-Steels replaced Bill Law in My Dying Bride, and once was a member of Anathema. Like many other metal musicians, he has a pseudonym and adopted the stage name 'Winter'.

Shortly before the release of the 2006 album A Line of Deathless Kings, Shaun announced his permanent departure from My Dying Bride due to health concerns.In the band's official statement concerning his departure, Shaun is quoted as saying, "I would just like to salute MDB for the good times and wish them all well in the future, I feel I am not ready to fulfill the duties in a manner befitting MDB at this time and have decided to stand down. I am sad to be leaving but at this time I feel it is for the greater good of the band".Shaun also recorded drums with the Norwegian metal band Vestige of Virtue alongside Kjetil Ottersen and Frode Forsmo.Shaun returned to My Dying Bride as a studio drummer for their 2012 album A Map of All Our Failures. In May 2013, shaun also replaced Hayley Morgan in Yorkshire black metal band Severed Heaven. After 2 years with the band he left and joined Darkher.

He recorded 'realms' and played live with the band from 2015 to 2017. In 2016 shaun recorded a live session with Darkher at the famous Maida Vale recording studios in london for bbc radio 1.

In 2017 he rejoined My Dying Bride as a full-time member. but then departed from the band again in 2018. In December 2018, it was wrongly publicised that Shaun had been sacked from the band. He had in fact left months before it was made public due to being extremely unhappy with the situation he found himself in. Shaun also plays Drums alongside longtime friend and fellow musician 'Hamish Glencross' in crushing Black Doom Metal Band 'Godthrymm'.

Short Titles Act 1896

The Short Titles Act 1896 (59 & 60 Vict c 14) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It replaces the Short Titles Act 1892.

This Act was retained for the Republic of Ireland by section 2(2)(a) of, and Part 4 of Schedule 1 to, the Statute Law Revision Act 2007. In that country, this Act is one of the Short Titles Acts 1896 to 2007.Section 1 and Schedule 1 authorised the citation of about 2,000 earlier Acts by short titles. The Acts given short titles were passed between 1351 and 1893. This Act gave short titles to all public general Acts passed since the Union of England and Scotland and then in force, which had not already been given short titles, except for those omitted from the Revised Edition of the Statutes by reason of their local or personal character.In 1995, the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission recommended that section 1 and Schedule 1 be repealed.Section 1 and Schedule 1 were repealed by section 1(1) of, and Part IV of Schedule 1 to, the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1995. Notwithstanding these repeals, such citations are still authorized by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.

Short and long titles

The short title is the formal name by which a piece of primary legislation may by law be cited in the United Kingdom and other Westminster-influenced jurisdictions (such as Canada or Australia), as well as the United States and the Philippines. It contrasts with the long title which, while usually being more fully descriptive of the legislation's purpose and effects, is generally too unwieldy for most uses. For example, the short title House of Lords Act 1999 contrasts with the long title An Act to restrict membership of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage; to make related provision about disqualifications for voting at elections to, and for membership of, the House of Commons; and for connected purposes.

The long title (properly, the title in some jurisdictions) is the formal title appearing at the head of a statute (such as an act of Parliament or of Congress) or other legislative instrument. The long title is intended to provide a summarised description of the purpose or scope of the instrument. Like other descriptive components of an act (such as the preamble, section headings, side notes, and short title) the long title seldom affects the operative provisions of an act, except where the operative provisions are unclear or ambiguous and the long title provides a clear statement of the legislature's intention

Statute Law Revision Act 1948

The Statute Law Revision Act 1948 (11 & 12 Geo 6 c 62) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Section 5(3) of the Statute Law Revision Act 1950 provided that this Act, so far as it repealed 13 Edw. 1 Stat. West. sec. c 34., was to be deemed not to have extended to Northern Ireland.

Unfair Contract Terms Bill

The Unfair Contract Terms Bill (Law Com 292) is a proposed Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, which would consolidate two existing pieces of consumer protection legislation, the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 into one Act. It would resolve existing ambiguities, and eliminate overlapping provisions, but also slightly raise consumer protection standards in favour of small businesses.

United Ants

The United Ants (Chinese: 蟻聯) was a short-lived civil group in the 1990s that was informally started by workers and professionals for the protection of civil and political rights. These are outlined in the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, to help the Hong Kong government preserve human rights and democracy because of the uncertainties in the post-1997 era.One of the members, Lee Miu-ming, lost a lawsuit against the government's functional constituency in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong in which they argued that it violated the Bill of Rights Ordinance and its principle of equal voting.

In the summer of 1994, the group gained media attention by criticizing four members of the Meeting Point (Leong Che-hung, Fred Li, Tik Chi-yuen and Zachary Wong) for abstaining from voting for Emily Lau's (the then pro-democracy Independent legislator for the New Territories East constituency) full-scale direct election amendment of Governor Chris Patten's 1995 LegCo election bill.

Law Yuk-kai, director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, was their leader. Many notable members of the United Ants including Cyd Ho,who joined the newly formed Pro-democracy party, the Frontier in 1996.

William D. Law

William D. "Bill" Law is an American academic and former Community college administrator. He resigned as President of St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida effective July 1, 2017.

William Law (disambiguation)

William Law (1686–1761) was an English divine and theological writer.

William Law may also refer to:

William Law (Lord Provost) (1799-1878) Lord Provost of Edinburgh

William Law (Latter Day Saints) (1809–1892), Irish-born American leader and apostate in the Latter Day Saint movement

William Law (cricketer) (1851–1892), English amateur cricketer

William D. Law, President of Tallahassee Community College, Florida

William Henry Law (1803–1881), Connecticut state legislator

William Law (Canadian politician) (1833–1901), merchant and political figure in Nova Scotia, Canada

William John Law (1786–1869), British judge

William A. Law, former director of Chatham and Phenix National Bank

Bill Law, English drummer, formerly of My Dying Bride

Arthur Law (playwright) (William Arthur Law, 1844–1913), English playwright

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