LEGISLATION


Legislation

Legislation or “acts” are generally referred to as “House and Senate Bills.” Enrolled Bills must pass both houses of the Legislature, be signed by the presiding officer of each house and be approved by the Governor before it has the force and effect of law.

Bills

Bills may also become law without the Governor’s signature (LWS), or be passed over the Governor’s veto by an override, or can be approved by legal voters by virtue of a Legislative Referendum, thus becoming law. Bills generally propose amendments to an existing statute, create new law, or repeal existing law.

Veto

The Veto is an action taken to disapprove a bill or joint resolution to prevent it from becoming law. A Line-item Veto is used when a portion of a bill or joint resolution is disapproved. Vetoed legislation is returned to the house of origin with the Governor’s objections. A Veto Message is delivered to the Secretary of State for recording. The Legislature may “Override” a veto by two-thirds vote of each house or if the measure contains an emergency clause, the measure would require a three-fourths vote by each house. A Pocket Veto occurs when the Governor fails to act on a measure within 15 days following adjournment. Pocket vetoes are not filed or recorded with the Secretary of State.

Resolutions

Resolutions often referred to as “Simple Resolutions,” are formal expressions of the intent or will of one house of the Legislature. This type of resolution is used to proclaim, commend, designate, declare or express appreciation for something. House or Senate Resolutions do not have the force of law.

Concurrent Resolutions

Concurrent Resolutions express the intent or will of both houses of the Legislature. They are formal expressions of facts, principles, opinions, wishes and purposes of the Legislature. This type of resolution is used to congratulate, proclaim, declare or designate items and to memorialize the President, Congress, cabinet members or federal agencies on a certain course of action. They do not have the force of law.

Joint Resolutions

Joint Resolutions are passed by both houses of the Legislature. If submitted to the Governor and approved, have the force and effect of law. Joint resolutions which are submitted to a vote of the people are referred to as “Legislative Referendums.” This type of resolution is used to propose amendments to the Oklahoma Constitution or to ratify amendments to the United States Constitution. As a Legislative Referendum, the resolution does not require the approval of the Governor. Once received by the Secretary of State, each Legislative Referendum is designated a State Question Number and a Legislative Referendum Number. Copies are delivered to the Governor and State Election Board to issue the Election Proclamation and place the measure on the Ballot for a vote of the people.

Once approved, all original bills and resolutions are received by the Secretary of State for processing.  Each House and Senate bill is designated a “chapter number”. The bills and resolutions are recorded on the Secretary of State’s database, made available on the Secretary of State’s web page, and published in the Oklahoma Session Laws and the Oklahoma Statutes.