Many of us of a certain age learned most of what we know about government and grammar from Schoolhouse Rock. Unfortunately there isn’t a Schoolhouse Rock piece about the process the North Carolina legislature goes through to draft a new law, but thanks to a guest piece in the Greensboro News & Record’s Sunday opinion section we do have a fairly understandable overview provided by Louis Panzer, the executive director of North Carolina 811:
For those of you unfamiliar with the process, here is the flow in a nutshell: A bill is drafted by a team of research analysts and then introduced in either the House or the Senate. This requires sponsors who carry the language through the chambers, explaining the nuances and seeking votes to approve and move to the next level.
Each bill requires three readings in the chamber it originated in. During this process, a bill may be sent to a committee. Once the bill leaves the original chamber, it “crosses over” to the other for another round of three readings and more potential committee attention. Each time this happens, there is an opportunity for amendments. In some cases, the amendments adopted by one chamber are rejected by the original chamber. Then more modifications might have to be made. When a bill finally receives the governor’s signature, it becomes law.
Sounds simple right? Well, let’s just say that the process truly resembles the proverbial sausage making and is rarely as simple as it sounds.
As for law making at the federal level, I’ll leave the explanation to our friends at Schoolhouse Rocks: