If you want to observe what is taking place at the General Assembly this year, simply CLICK HERE and you will go to the GA’s website streaming service.
From there, click on the date you want to watch. Click on the Agenda tab and find the bill you want to see debated then Click on that bill – presto! You can watch your elected representatives discuss their suggestions (legislation) to change the law under which we all live. Got it? You’re just a few clicks away from watching the longest continually serving legislature in the Western Hemisphere!
It will seem confusing at first due to the procedures, rules, and language your representatives use.
When a bill comes out of committee and heads to the House, it has three steps to go through before it can go to the Senate for consideration.
1) First Reading – this is usually the next day after a committee passes the bill. There is no debate but you can make motions that change the schedule of the bill mainly to delay consideration or return it to a committee.
2) Second Reading – the bill is before the House in an amendable and debatable state. Meaning you can change the bill, debate the bill, and ask questions of the patron – the person who is carrying the legislation. A motion must be made and voted on to Engross the bill if it is going onto the Third Reading – final passage.
3) Third Reading – the bill is NOT amendable, only debatable. A vote is taken and that is Final Passage of the measure. If it passes, it goes to the Senate.
Note: The Senate has a different process, but it follows a similar track.