How does a bill become a law?
Did you know you can attend committee meetings?
Public Committee Meetings are all open to the public.
Not only are you able to watch committee meetings, but the public can also submit witness cards (See Basic Legislative Lingo for definition) to let your Senator or Representative know whether you favor or oppose a bill. With this, you can also indicate on your card whether you would like to testify in front of the committee on your card when you fill it out.
Watch Committee Meetings online here
View upcoming Committee Meeting schedules here - Here, you can view which “room” to tune into when directed to watch the committee meetings online!
Basic Legislative Lingo
Act: A bill that has been approved by both houses, signed by the Governor and given an act number by the Secretary of State.
Amendment: A change made to the language of a bill by adding or deleting passages.
Adjournment: End of a session for the day, with the hour and the day of the next meeting being set.
Adjournment Sine Die: Latin for “without a day”, meaning that session is being adjourned for the final day.
Bill: A bill is a legislative instrument written by a legislator to create a new law or repeal/reform a current law.
Caucus: An informal group of legislators such as the Black Caucus or the Women’s Caucus. They can also sometimes be referred to as delegations. Here is a list of caucuses and delegations here in Louisiana.
Chamber: The rooms where the House and Senate meet
Committee: Committees are composed of legislators that must review.
Each committee considers all legislation introduced in its assigned policy area. The rules of the House and Senate specify the subject areas covered by each committee. Committees meet at regularly scheduled times during the session and at other times during or outside of the session at the discretion of the committee chair.
Each committee may create subcommittees to consider particular bills and make recommendations to the full committee. Committees typically hold hearings, hear testimony from interested parties, debate the merits of proposed legislation, and vote whether or not to allow the bill to proceed to another committee in some cases or to the full floor in their chamber.
In Louisiana, there are 16 Committees in the House and 17 Committees in the Senate
Committee Report: A reporter of any action taken on the legislative instruments (bills and resolutions) heard at the meeting. The report is typically read prior to the adjournment of the session that day.
Conference Committee: A committee, composed of three members from each house, the purpose of which is to propose to the two houses a means to resolve differences in a bill when the house of origin refuses to concur in one or more amendments adopted by the opposite house.
Congress: Congress is the governing legislature comprised of two chambers: the Senate and House of Representatives.
Constituent: A person who live in a representative’s district
Witness Cards: A mechanism for the public to express (or request the opportunity to provide testimony in) support or opposition to a legislative instrument f.e. a bill or resolution. These cards are available in the committee room and overflow rooms on the witness tables where you can fill them out and hand them to a designated staff member or sergeant-at-arms.
Red Cards: A witness card used to oppose an item.
Green Cards: A witness card used to support an item.
Tip: The length of these meetings and number of people are limited, so we advise those in large number to appoint someone to speak on behalf of your group/organization.
Visit the official Louisiana Legislature Glossary page for more!
Book an Appointment
Or call 1-800-230-7526