The months in which legislators meet to discuss and pass laws for each of the two years. (a new legislature is elected every two years for a new legislative session.)
A legislature with two separate chambers, each of which participate in the making and adoption of laws.
House of Representatives
Part of the Legislative Branch. There are 150 representatives that make up the Vermont House and they each represent about 4,000 citizens.
Part of the Legislative Branch. There are 30 Senators in Vermont. Each senator represents about 20,000 people in a senatorial district (one or more counties).
A proposed law.
A declaration of the legislative body.
A group of lawyers and administrative staff who work with legislators to write bills and laws.
The first formal step in the process of lawmaking. A bill is introduced to the House or Senate for consideration and then sent to a committee for study.
Legislators who propose a bill.
A small group of legislators appointed to meet and discuss bills of a particular topic or type (e.g. Agricultural Committee).
Speaker of the House
Leader elected by the House or Representatives.
Elected by the voters. He or she presides over the Senate unless he or she is Acting Governor (in the event of death or incapacity of the Governor and when the Governor is out of state).
President Pro Tempore
Serve sin the Lieutenant Governor's place in his or her absence. Elected by members of the Senate.
Meetings of a committee where the public is invited to comment on proposed legislation, issues or policy decisions.
Individuals who are paid or who spend over $500 to influence legislators to pass or prevent passage of particular laws and policies. Lobbyists often work closely with legislators to help shape bills.
Statements made by people who participate in a legislative hearing.
To amend or make changes to a bill while it is in committee.
Passed out favorably
A committee vote to return the bill to the House or Senate with a recommendation that it be approved.
Passed out favorably with amendment
A committee vote to return the bill to the House or Senate with a recommendation that it be approved with changes made by the committee.
Passed out unfavorably
A committee vote to return the bill to the House or Senate with a recommendation that it not be approved.
Without any recommendations
A bill that is sent back to the House or Senate for vote without a committee recommendation. This generally only happens when the committee cannot agree on what recommendations to make.
Table the bill
A bill that is tabled is kept in committee so that it never goes to a vote by the House or Senate. It can be called up again at any time.
Dies in committee (kill the bill)
A bill that dies in committee is not returned to the House or Senate for debate and/or vote.
When the title of a bill is read on the floor of the House or Senate for the second time. (The first time is when it is introduced.)
When the title of a bill is read on the floor of the House or Senate for the third time. After third reading there is a final vote on the bill.
A legislator who is a member of the committee that is bringing the bill to the floor for a vote.
The notice calendar is published every day by the Legislative Council. It lists all the bills that are going to be debated and voted upon the following day.
Before a bill is voted on, legislators debate the bill by arguing in favor or against the bill. They also offer amendments.
Germane means "related to." An amendment is not germane if it is unrelated to the purpose of the bill.
A break from the meeting of the House or Senate
Roll call vote
When there is a roll call vote, the House Clerk or Secretary of the Senate reads off each legislator's name, and they answer Yea, Nay, or they can abstain. Only with a roll call vote will the public know how individual legislators voted on a particular bill.
House Clerk and Secretary of the Senate
The House Clerk and Secretary of the Senate are elected by the legislators to help keep track of bills, resolutions, votes and the proceedings of the legislators, and to prepare calendars and journals.
A conference committee is made up of three senators and three representatives who are appointed by the leadership of their chambers.
To choose not to participate.
A veto is when the Governor decides not to sign a bill into a law. The bill returns to the legislature where each house decides to sustain the veto or override it.