PUBLIC LAW- defines the legal relationship between citizens and their government (ie. enacted law: statutes, admin regulations, constitutions, treaties, etc.) In theory, public law is superior to private law. The legislature can alter common law (eg. UCC). Courts can’t create, amend, or repeal a statute.
· Private law- disputes between private citizens; torts, contract law, etc.
· Courts cant create, amend, or appeal a statute
MECHANICS OF LEGISLATION: HOW A FEDERAL BILL BECOMES LAW
House of Representatives
1) Origination of the bill ( By executive agency, political interest group, individual member, bill drafting agency)
2) Introduction of bill by member
3) Referral to standing committee by leadership
4) Committee Action
· Possible referral to subcommittee
· Possible open or closed hearings
· Committee may: a) disregard b) defeat c) accept and report d) amend and report e) rewrite
5) Schedule legislative consideration: Calendars:
i) Union (revenue and appropriations)
ii) House (public)
iii) Private (claims)
iv) Consent (minor)
v) Discharge (remove bills from committee)
6) Bill sent to Rules Committee (major bills)
· Sets the terms on how a bill will be debated on the House floor
7) Floor Action
· Committee of the Whole-amendments proposed (entire chamber)
1) General Debate
· Second Reading (most amendments are made on the 2nd reading)
Then to the Senate………….
1) Referral to Standing Committee by Leadership
2) Committee Action: similar to the House
3) Calendars (less elaborate than House)
No Rules Committee; bill must be accepted by unanimous consent
4) Conference Committee
5) Bill signed by Speaker and Vice-President
Then to the President…………
President may: a) Approve b) Veto c) Pocket Veto (fails to sign and the legislature adjourns w/ the ten day period) d) Permit bill to become law w/ out signature
a) Simple Resolution- governs the organization or procedure in one of the houses and are known as “house” or “senate” resolutions.
b) Joint resolution- a resolution ado
measure added to a bill late in the legislative process, with the intention that it will “ride” through.
Committees- the purpose of a committee is so a bill can properly be reviewed and evaluated. Committees provide expertise on specific issues of a bill. They determine the value of the bill.
All bills are not required to be sent to a committee (eg. Senate Rule). The committee can iron out difficulties w/ a bill and build a consensus in favor of it.
· A bill is sometimes sent to several different committees because it involves several different issues.
· Parliamentary Differences between the House and the Senate
· The senate in many ways has more power than the house and consequently abide by different rules. Eg. the senate does not use a Rules Committee but instead has a “unanimous consent agreement” which means the rule must be accepted by all senators as opposed to a single committee.