Glossary of legislative terms
ABSENCE, EXCUSED - Not present, with consent of body.
ACTS - The volume of bills enacted at one session; published by the Legislative Research Commission.
ADJOURN (motion to) - An action to discontinue proceedings for the day; a privileged motion non-debatable, not subject to amendment, and requires for its adoption the assenting votes of a majority of the members present and voting.
ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE - Adjournment without a day. This action ends a session, since no time is set for reconvening.
ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION - An enactment of law by an executive branch agency or department, under authority granted by the General Assembly.
ADMINISTRATION BILL - Legislation introduced at the behest of the Governor, usually sponsored by the majority floor leader.
ADOPTION - Approval or acceptance; usually applied to resolutions or amendments
AMEND (motion to) - An action to modify the contents of a bill or question under consideration; the motion to amend is in order at any time prior to final passage, unless the previous question has been ordered.
AMENDMENT - Any alteration made or proposed to be made in a bill, motion or clause thereof, by adding, substituting or deleting.
CHAMBER - A legislative, judicial or deliberative assembly.
CLINCHER - Procedural act by which a chamber agrees that it shall require the consent of a majority of its members to reconsider a just-adopted bill. "I move the clincher" is an abbreviated way of saying: 'I move that the vote by which House Bill 100 was adopted be reconsidered, and that the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table. Since the rules require a majority of the members elected (20 in the Senate, 51 in the House) to bring a motion off the table, the clincher helps assure that the just-adopted bill will not be reconsidered.
COMMITTEE - A group of legislators, usually members of the same house, assigned to consider some issue or question and submit a report on its recommendations for action by the body which created it.
COMMITTEE AMENDMENT - An amendment to a bill which is attached to the bill by a committee and made a part of the committee's report on the bill.
COMMITTEE CHAIR - The presiding officer of a committee.
COMMITTEE, CONFERENCE - A joint committee of senators and representatives directed to reach agreement on legislation on which the two house are unable to agree.
COMMITTEE, INTERIM JOINT - A committee composed of all members of a Senate standing committee and all members of a House standing committee, which meets between sessions as a subcommittee of the Legislative Research Commission.
COMMITTEE REPORT - The document by which a committee submits its recommendations to its parent body.
COMMITTEE, SPECIAL - A committee established to consider only one issue, and which ceases to exist after submitting its report.
COMMITTEE, STANDING - A committee established to function for the entire session, to consider any questions the body cares to submit to it.
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE - A bill offered by a committee in lieu of a bill it has considered; technically, the committee substitute is an amendment to the original bill.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE - Resolution of the entire house membership into a single committee.
COMPANION BILL - A bill which is identical to a bill having been introduced in the opposite house.
CONCUR - Action by one house to agree to modifications of its legislation by the opposite house.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST - Threat to the public interest by a private interest; usually the position of a legislator unable to vote impartially due to some personal interest in a legislative matter.
CONSENT CALENDAR (or consent orders) - A list of bills having had one (or two) reading(s), and on which members in attendance are presumed to vote yes unless they indicate a negative vote prior to the call of the roll.
CONSTITUENT - A citizen who resides in the district of a legislator.
CONSTITUTION - A written instrument defining and limiting the duties and powers of a government, and guaranteeing certain rights to the people who are subject to the edicts of such government.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT - A proposal to modify a constitution in some manner.
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION - An assemblage convened for the purpose of writing or rewriting a Constitution.
CONSTITUTIONAL MAJORITY - One more than half of the members of a deliberative body.
CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICER - An officer selected by a legislative body in compliance with a constitutional provision that it do so; in Kentucky these officers are clerk, assistant clerk, enrolling clerk, sergeant at arms, doorkeeper, cloakroom keeper, janitor and page.
CONTESTED SEAT - Assertion by two or more persons of the right to represent a given district in a legislative assembly.
CONTINGENCY FUND - Money appropriated (to the governor in Kentucky) to meet expenses which are unforeseen at the time of budget preparation.
CONVENE - The assembly or meeting of a legislative body, on the periodic basis provided by law.
CO-SPONSOR - A sponsor of a bill or resolution who is not the principal sponsor.
DEBATE - Discussion or a question according to parliamentary rules.
DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION - An appropriation to compensate for an impending deficit in an account budgeted for the preceding time period.
DILATORY - Designed to cause delay.
DISCHARGE PETITION - A notice filed one day in advance of an attempt to take a bill or resolution from a committee.
DISSENT - Disagreement, or the cast of a negative vote.
DISTRICT - The area or division of the governed territory which is represented by an individual member of its legislative body.
DIVISION - A method of voting by way of a show of hands or by standing; provides a count without a roll call.
DIVISION OF A QUESTION - The separation of one item to be voted on into two or more items to be voted on.
EFFECTIVE DATE - The date on which a legislative measure begins to function as a part of the law; in Kentucky, most legislation becomes effective 90 days after sine die adjournment.
ELECTION - The process of selecting a person to occupy an office, by way of balloting.
EMERGENCY CLAUSE - Provision in a bill that it become effective immediately upon approval by the governor rather than 90 days after adjournment.
ENABLING ACT - Legislation permitting an entity which depends upon the legislative body for its power to take a certain action.
EN BLOC VOTING - To consider several questions in a single vote; or to vote as a unit on a particular question, as when all senators present are presumed to vote yes enbloc on consent bills.
ENACTING CLAUSE - The clause preceding any legislative measure which expresses formally the legislative sanction of the body promulgating the enactment.
ENGROSSMENT - The act of perfecting an item of legislation in accordance with any amendments which have been adopted to it since its origin.
ENROLLMENT - The act of comparing a printed bill to be transmitted to the governor with the original introduced bill with all amendments, so as to ascertain their identical form.
EXECUTIVE ORDER - Action by the governor in implementing executive authority under the law
EXECUTIVE SESSION - A meeting of any deliberative body which excludes from attendance any person who is not a member of the body or one of its essential staff.
EX OFFICIO - The holding of an office or assumption of a duty by virtue of holding a particular office, as when the majority floor leader is by virtue of that office an ex-officio member of the Legislative Research Commission.
EXPUNGE - Action to delete certain portions of the official record of a governmental body.
FILE - A collection of documents belonging in the same or similar category; or the act of presenting a paper or document to an official entity such as a court or legislative body.
FISCAL NOTE - An attachment to a bill or resolution indicating its impact on state finances.
FLOOR - The area of a legislative chamber which is occupied by the members and staff of the body.
FLOOR AMENDMENT - An amendment filed with the clerk to be considered on third reading of the bill to which it has been filed.
GALLERY - The area of a legislative chamber from which the proceedings may be viewed by spectators; usually a balcony or other raised area.
GENERAL ORDERS - A list of measures eligible for debate, amendment and voting on a given day without reference to a particular time of day or place in the order of business.
GERMANENESS - The relevance or appropriateness of a particular question, usually an amendment.
GERRYMANDERING - The act of drawing legislative district boundaries so as to gain partisan or fractional political advantages.
GOVERNOR'S PROCLAMATION - The document issued by the governor to convene an extraordinary session of the legislative body.
GRANDFATHER CLAUSE - Exemption from regulation for certain persons having engaged in the regulated activity for a specified period of time prior to the effective date of the regulatory legislation.
HEARING - A meeting, usually of a committee, at which testimony on a question or issue is accepted, whether from the public generally or from invited witnesses.
HOPPER - Colloquial name given the repository for bills awaiting introduction; in Kentucky such bills are filed with the clerk.
HOUSE - One body of deliberation in a legislature; customarily a shortened name for the House of Representatives.
IMMUNITY - Constitutionally, legislators are privileged from arrest, except for certain offenses, and may not be brought to question for remarks made in speech or debate on the floor.
IMPEACHMENT - A legal procedure, originating in the legislative branch of government, by which public officials may be removed from office by reason of misconduct.
INITIATIVE - A procedure by which the general public may present and require consideration of legislative proposals.
INTERIM - The period of time between sessions of a legislature.
INTRODUCTION - The presentation of a bill or resolution to the legislative body for its consideration.
INVOCATION - The prayer preceding each daily session of a legislative body.
JOINT SPONSORSHIP - A procedure in the Kentucky House of Representatives whereby several members may sponsor legislation without one being a principal sponsor, and each bearing equal responsibility as endorsing the measure.
JOURNAL - The official, written record of the proceedings of a legislative body.
KENTUCKY REVISED STATUTES (KRS) - The official title of statute law in Kentucky; each bill creates, amends, or repeals a section of the KRS.
LAY ON THE CLERK'S DESK (motion to) - An action to place a measure in a position of temporary postponement.
LAY ON THE TABLE (motion to) - An action to declare a measure defeated.
LEGISLATIVE ADVOCATE OR AGENT - A person, usually under hire, engaged in representing a particular interest or group of interests before the legislature; commonly referred to as a lobbyist.
LEGISLATIVE ANALYST - A staff person engaged to determine the effects of legislation, and assist a committee in its deliberations.
LEGISLATOR - A member of the legislature
LEGISLATURE - A deliberative, representative assembly formed by constitution to enact change in statute law; usually the term legislature refers to the state level of government.
LOBBYIST - See Legislative advocate.
MAJORITY CAUCUS CHAIRMAN - A member affiliated with the majority party, who is responsible for convening the caucus of one party, and presiding over its deliberations.
MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER - A member affiliated with the majority party, designated to act for the party during the proceedings on the floor.
MAJORITY PARTY - The political party whose members occupy at least one more than half of the total membership of the body.
MAJORITY WHIP - A member affiliated with the majority party, designated to assist the floor leader during proceedings on the floor.
MASON'S MANUAL - A volume of parliamentary law and procedure providing a basis for ruling on questions of order in the General Assembly.
MEMBERS-ELECT - Persons having been elected members of a legislative body, but not yet having been sworn into office.
MEMORIALIZE - To address or petition another agency or entity of government.
MESSAGE - An official communication from beyond the body which is read into and made a portion of its journal.
MINORITY FLOOR LEADER - The minority party officer corresponding to the majority floor leader.
MINORITY REPORT - A report filed by those members of a committee in the minority relative to the decision of the majority of the committee; the minority report may be adopted in lieu of the majority report.
MINUTES - The written record of proceedings of a deliberative body.
MOTION - A proposal, usually oral, made to the presiding officer calling for specific action by the body; the motion is the principal tool used to conduct legislative business.
NOMINATION - The placement of a person's name in consideration for election or appointment to an office.
NON-DEBATABLE - Those subjects or motions which under parliamentary rules may not be discussed or debated.
OATH OF OFFICE - Oath or vow taken by public officials prior to being seated and taking up their official duties.
OMBUDSMAN - An official, usually appointed, charged with the duty of receiving and investigating public complaints, and directing action thereon by the responsible agency.
ORDER OF BUSINESS - The defined routine of procedure in the legislative body each day; may be deviated from only by suspension of the rules.
ORDERS OF THE DAY - A list of bills and resolutions scheduled for third reading, debate, amendment and vote on a particular day.
OUT OF ORDER - The offer of an improper motion, amendment or question to a deliberative body.
OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE - A committee, usually legislative, created to maintain a review of some aspect or operation of government, usually related to the executive branch.
PAIRS, OR PAIRINGS - An arrangement between two members by which they agree to be recorded as voting on opposite sides of an issue, and be absent when the vote is taken.
PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY - A question posed to the presiding officer for clarification of a particular point in the proceedings.
PASSAGE - The approval of a bill or resolution by way of an affirmative vote.
PER DIEM - A basis of compensation for services, from day to day.
PETITION - A formal, written request submitted by an individual or group to some official body or agency.
PINK SHEET - The colloquial term applied to the form used for technical or typographical changes to bills in Kentucky without benefit of amendment; this form originates in the Legislative Research Commission.
POINT OF ORDER - The calling of attention to a breach of order or the rules.
POINT OF PERSONAL PRIVILEGE - Defense of the rights, reputation or conduct of a legislator in his or her official capacity.
POSTPONE INDEFINITELY (motion to) - Action to prevent consideration of a measure for the remainder of the session, unless a constitutional majority sustains a motion to reconsider the matter.
POSTPONE TO A FIXED TIME (motion to) - To defer consideration of a question until a time specified in the motion.
PRECEDENT - Previous evidence or example for action or decision of a question.
PREFILED BILL - A bill filed prior to the session, for public discussion and printing.
PRESIDENT - The presiding officer in the Senate.
PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE - The Senator, elected by the Senate, chosen to preside in lieu of the President when such officer is absent or unable to preside.
PRESIDING OFFICER - The person designated to preside over the proceedings of a legislative body.
PRESSURE GROUP - A group or organization which attempts to influence action on legislation.
PREVIOUS QUESTION (motion for) - Action to prevent additional debate on or amendment of a question, and to cause an immediate vote on the matter at issue.
PRIVILEGED MOTION - motions to which a special status is applied, whereby such take precedence if offered while other matters are pending.
PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR - Authorization for members of the general public to visit the floor, granted usually for the day.
PROCEDURE - Rules and traditional practices of the respective houses of the legislature.
QUORUM - The number of members of a legislative body which must be present to transact business.
QUORUM CALL - Action to require a call of the roll to determine the presence of a quorum.
RATIFY - To approve and make valid.
READING - Each bill to be enacted in Kentucky must have three readings, at length, in each house.
REAPPORTIONMENT - Redrawing legislative district boundaries so as to provide equality of representation.
RECALL - To cause removal of a legislative enactment or public official by popular action.
RECEDE - To undo action previously taken.
RECESS - Intermission during a daily session, usually for caucus or committee meetings.
RECOMMIT (motion to) - Action to send a measure to committee after it has been previously reported.
RECONSIDER (motion to) - Action to re-take a vote; the motion may be offered only by a member having voted previously on the prevailing side.
REFER - To send a measure or question to committee.
REFERENDUM - Submission of a question to decision by the electorate.
RESCIND - To annul or undo an action previously taken.
REPEAL - To delete and make of no effect.
REPORT - To communicate opinion or recommendations.
RESOLUTION, CONCURRENT - Expression of opinion or request by both houses of a legislature, without the force of law.
RESOLUTION, JOINT - To enact matters of law not to be made a portion of the statutes.
RESOLUTION, SIMPLE - Expression or request by one house.
RESOLVING CLAUSE - Language in a resolution defining the action taken.
REVENUE - The yield of taxes and other sources of public moneys.
REVISION - The process of inserting the enactments of a session into existing statute law.
RIPPER BILL - A colloquial term applied to legislation designed to harm a particular person or bill.
ROLL CALL - To determine a vote on a question by taking of names in favor and opposed.
RULES - A code of procedure adopted by each house of a legislature to govern its operations.
RULING OF A CHAIR - A decision by the presiding officer concerning a question of order or procedure.
SECTION - A division of a bill or statute, separated according to topic covered or action taken.
SENIORITY - Length of service as bearing on duties or functions.
SESSION, EXTRAORDINARY - A session convened by call of the Governor; Usually called a "special session".
SESSION, REGULAR - A session convened on a regular basis by way of constitutional provision as to its date and length.
SIMPLE MAJORITY - A majority of those voting on a question.
SINE DIE - See ADJOURNMENT.
SPEAKER - The presiding officer of the House of Representatives.
SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE - The member of the House of Representatives elected to preside in the absence or inability of the Speaker.
SPECIAL ORDER - An action predetermined to occur at a specific time on a specific date.
SPONSOR - The legislator responsible for presenting an item of legislation to the body
STATIONERY ALLOWANCE - each member is given an allowance per session for the purchase of stationery.
STOPPING THE CLOCK - An occasional tactic on the final evening of a regular session whereby the proceedings continue into the following day, with the clock and journal continuing to indicate occurrences of action on the preceding day.
SUNSET LEGISLATION - A law requiring termination of a particular agency or program on a predetermined date, unless justification for continuance is presented to the legislature prior to such occurrence.
SUSPEND THE RULES - Action to negate the application of a particular rule of procedure; the rule and purpose must be stated in the motion to suspend.
TERM OF OFFICE - The period of time for which a person is elected or appointed to occupy an office or position.
TITLE - A caption indicating the subject matter of a bill or resolution, required by the Constitution.
UNANIMOUS CONSENT - A vote, by voice, expressing adoption of a question without dissent or objection.
UNICAMERAL - A legislature composed of one house.
VETO - Rejection of an enactment without authority to modify; usually the prerogative of the Governor.
VETO OVERRIDE - Authority of the legislature to overturn a rejection of legislation by the Governor.
VOICE VOTE - A method of voting whereby only a vocal response to a question is indicated.
VOTE - A decision on a question by a member of a deliberative body, either affirmative or negative.
WITHDRAW - To recall, remove or delete a question from consideration.
YIELD - A parliamentary term referring to the cession of the floor by one member to another.