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Legislative Glossary

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(This dictionary of legislative terms provides brief explanations of the listed terms. The cited provisions of the constitution, laws, and rules may be consulted for additional information.)


A bill that has been finally passed by the House and Senate, enrolled, signed by the legislative presiding officers, signed by the governor (or allowed to become law without his signature), and assigned an Act number by the secretary of state. Joint resolutions (proposed constitutional amendments) are bills and are processed as such, except they are not signed by the governor or subject to the governor's veto.

Actuarial note

An estimate of the actuarial effect of a bill or resolution that will affect a state, parochial or municipal retirement system. Actuarial notes attached to an instrument heard in Senate Committee are included in the permanent committee records. (R.S. 24:521, House Rules 7.16, 7.17, and 14.48, Senate Rule 13.95 and Joint Rule 4(G))


Termination of business for a legislative day until a fixed hour on a succeeding day during a legislative session. The motion for adjournment, except for the motion to adjourn sine die, is always to a fixed time on a succeeding day. Bills or resolutions not finally passed continue as live legislation in the particular session until final adjournment (adjournment sine die) of the session after which they are withdrawn from the files of the legislature. (Const. Art. III, §10, House Rules 8.2, 9.6, 9.7, and 9.14A, and Senate Rules 11.6, 11.7)

Adjournment sine die

Adjournment sine die ("without a day") is an adjournment without setting a time for another meeting or session. Neither house can adjourn, during a session, for more than three days or to another place without the consent of the other house. (Const. Art III, §10(C)). Adjournment sine die, as distinguished from adjournment to a fixed hour on a succeeding day, terminates the session for that year. Although the legislature is a continuous body during the term for which its members are elected, any bill or resolution not finally passed in any session is, upon adjournment sine die, withdrawn from the files of the legislature. (Joint Rule 2 and House Rules 7.11 and 8.11, and Senate Rule 10.9)


The modification of a bill or resolution by adding or deleting language or changing wording. (House Rules 8.12, 8.13, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, and Senate Rules 10.10, 10.12, and 10.13)

Committee amendment - Changes in a bill or resolution recommended to the full house by a majority of the committee to which the bill or resolution was referred. Must be adopted by the full house to become a part of a bill or resolution. (House Rules 6.11, 14.7, and 14.43, and Senate Rules 10.12 and 13.9)

Floor amendment - Amendments offered by a member of the house having the bill or resolution under consideration, usually offered when a bill is being considered on the floor on third reading and final passage. (Joint Rule 4(D), and House Rules 7.17, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5 and 9.13 and Senate Rules 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3)

Appropriation bill

A bill to authorize payment of funds from the state treasury to a particular department or agency, sometimes specifies a particular purpose. (Const. Art. III, §16 and Art. VII, §10(D), Joint Rule 18, and House Rule 6.6(C))

Ancillary Appropriation Bill - Appropriation of monies derived from certain fees and self-generated revenues generated by state agencies providing services for other state agencies (i.e. risk management, state group health coverage) and which monies are deposited into certain internal service funds, auxiliary funds, or enterprise funds.

Capital Outlay Bill - Also an appropriation bill; it authorizes expenditures for the capital construction needs of the state. (Joint Rules 11 and 18, House Rules 6.6(C), 6.8 and 7.3 and Senate Rules 7.14 and 13.4(5))

General Appropriation Bill - Comprehensive bill to fund the ordinary expenses of the executive branch of state government. Appropriations are itemized to show the public entity to which the appropriation is made and the treasury fund from which it is made. The bill is organized in "schedules" applicable to particular departments and agencies or functions, with "items" within each schedule. (Const. Art. III, §16, Joint Rule 19, and House Rules 6.25, 7.3, and 8.15)

Legislative and judicial appropriations - are proposed in separate bills.

Revenue Sharing Bill - Annual distribution to parishes from the Revenue Sharing Fund in the state treasury based on the population and number of homesteads in each parish in proportion to population and the number of homesteads throughout the state. Minimum constitutional allocation is $90 million. (Const. Art. VII, § 26 and Joint Rule 18)

Supplemental Appropriations Bill - provides for unanticipated expenses in the current fiscal year along with other special appropriations.

Author (coauthors)

The member(s) sponsoring a particular piece of legislation. (Joint Rule 12 and House Rules 6.10, 7.2, 8.26, and 14.12)


A legislative instrument proposed by a legislator(s) to change or enact new statutory law or to repeal existing law (Act), or to propose changes or additions to the constitution (joint resolutions). Statutory law includes the Louisiana Revised Statutes, various codes, and local or special Acts. (Const. Art. III, §15 and House Rule 7.1)

Prefiled bill - Original bill that is filed by a legislator with the chief clerical officer of the respective house prior to a legislative session. Such a bill receives a bill number, is printed, and may be assigned to a standing committee prior to a session. On the opening day of the session, it will be formally introduced. (Const. Art. III, §2, and House Rules 7.2 and 7.6(B) and Senate Rules 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8 and 9.9)

Original bill - The bill as introduced into the legislature that is used in the legislative process until engrossed. (House Rule 7.2 and Senate Rules 7.4 and 7.6)

Engrossed bill - Original bill prepared with amendments adopted upon initial consideration by the house of origin incorporated into its text. Usually, a bill which incorporates all committee amendments to the original bill adopted during the second reading in the originating house. (Rarely a bill is amended on the floor at second reading and the engrossed bill, including these amendments, is referred to committee.) The engrossed bill is ordinarily the version used on the House floor for debate on third reading and final passage. (House Rules 7.8, 7.9, 7.20, 8.16, 8.17, and 8.20 and Senate Rule 7.8)

Reengrossed bill - Refers to a bill to which additional amendments - usually floor amendments - have been added, after its engrossment. Usually these are floor amendments adopted when the bill is considered on third reading and final passage in the house of origin. (House Rule 7.10 and Senate Rule 7.9)

Substitute bill - (see Substitute Bill).

Enrolled bill - A bill in its final form, including all amendments adopted in both houses, to be submitted (Joint Resolutions excepted) to the governor for his/her approval or veto. (House Rules 7.12, 7.14, and 7.15 and Senate Rule 7.10)

Bill status

The progression and current stage of a legislative instrument from its introduction to passage.


(1) The daily listing, in order of precedence, of resolutions, bills, and other documents on which action may be taken.

Regular calendar - Instruments reported by committees and ordered engrossed and passed to third reading on the same day are listed in numerical order and follow those reported on previous days. Most bills are placed on the regular calendar and considered in the order listed. (House Rules 8.8, 8.17, 8.20, 8.23 and 8.24 and Senate Rules 10.7 and 10.13)

Major state calendar - This House calendar is comprised of bills and joint resolutions that have a major impact in application throughout the state and establish or change policy in a major area of government activity. It is a Wednesday calendar, but remaining bills are carried over to the next legislative day. A committee and the Speaker must recommend placement on this calendar. Bills on this calendar lie over for not less than two legislative days prior to consideration on third reading. Removing a bill from this calendar requires filing an objection no later than the day before, concurrence of 20 other members, and concurrence of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. (House Rules 8.20, 8.22, 8.23, 8.24, and 8.25)

Local and consent calendar - A locally advertised bill or any instrument reported unanimously by a committee may be placed on the local and consent House calendar. Placement on this calendar requires that the committee reporting the bill adopt a separate motion recommending that it be placed on this calendar. This calendar is acted upon every second legislative day (bi-daily). Upon the second reading of an instrument, the author or sponsor may move that the bill be placed on this calendar and, unless objection is voiced by 21 members, it will be placed on the local and consent calendar. If 21 members object to hearing a bill on this calendar when it comes up for consideration on third reading and final passage, the bill is moved to the regular calendar (the daily calendar) for the next day. (House Rules 8.20, 8.21, 8.23, 8.24, and 8.25)

Subject to call - An instrument may be returned to the calendar subject to call upon approval of a majority of the members present and voting. Instruments so returned are listed in numerical order and may be called from the calendar for further action or consideration at a later time when the House is in that same order of business. However, members must give at least a day's notice that they intend to call a bill from this calendar. (House Rule 8.26 and Senate Rule 10.17) (Also see Order of the day)

Involuntary calendar - A Senate procedure when a legislative instrument is returned to calendar, subject to call, upon the order of the majority of members present and voting. After such action, the instrument may be called from the calendar only upon a favorable vote of a majority of members present and voting. (Senate Rule 10.17)

(2) The Legislative Calendar is the final published compilation of the action on each instrument during a legislative session. It lists all instruments in numerical order by house with a chronological notation of all action taken by each house. It includes an author, subject, and journal information index. Interim Legislative Calendars are prepared periodically during the interim. (House Rules 12.1 and 12.6 and Senate Rules 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4, 14.5, 14.6 and 14.7)

(3) The Interim Calendar is a compilation of the action taken on each legislative instrument prior to the convening of the legislative session. (House Rule 12.7)


The proclamation by which the governor or the legislature convenes the legislature into extraordinary session. The subject scope of the session is determined in this written document. (Const. Art. III, §2)


An informal group of legislators, most often organized on the basis of party affiliation, common interest, or regional representation. Also, a meeting of such a group. Some groups refer to themselves as a "delegation" rather than as a caucus.


Expression of legislative tribute of either or both houses by certificate or resolution. (Joint Rule 9)


A group of legislators of one or both houses which considers legislation, conducts studies, and/or makes recommendations to the Senate and/or House.

Committee of the whole - The entire membership of the House, acting in the capacity of committee to consider the general appropriation bill or other matters. A member other than the Speaker serves as the chairman. (House Rules 6.18, 6.19, 6.20, 6.21, 6.22, 6.23, 6.24, 6.25, 8.18, and 12.1)

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. (Joint Rule 19 and House Rules 6.14, 7.11, and 8.27 and Senate Rule 13.21)

Interim committee - A special committee created to make a study or investigation during the interim between sessions of the legislature. (Joint Rule 13 and House Rule 14.16 and Senate Rule 13.13)

Joint committee - A committee composed of members of both houses. May be composed of standing committee members from each house (or certain members thereof) or may be a special joint committee with members selected without regard to standing committee membership. Used during the interim. (House Rule 14.16 and Joint Rules 8 and 13 and Senate Rule 13.12)

Select committee - A committee established by the presiding officer of a chamber composed of members of that chamber for a designated purpose. (House Rules 15.2 and 15.9 and Senate Rule 13.20)

Special committee - A committee of one or both houses appointed for a limited purpose and discharged upon completion of this function.

Standing committee - A permanent committee of the Senate or House with subject matter jurisdiction defined by rules of its house. Functions both during and between legislative sessions to conduct public hearings on proposed legislation, review proposed administrative rules, make its own studies of problems, make reports and recommendations to the house it serves, etc. (Joint Rules 13 and 16, House Rules 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.6, 14.16, and 14.17, and Senate Rules 13.1, 13.2, 13.4, 13.12, 13.15, 13.16, and 13.17)


Action by the house of origin of a legislative instrument to agree to amendments to the instrument adopted by the opposite house. (Senate Rules 12.11 and 12.12)


A resolution which tenders condolences upon the death of a legislator, a member's relative, former member, or any other prominent person.

Conference Committee Report

The recommendations of a conference committee to resolve the differences between the two houses when the house of origin does not concur in amendments adopted in the second house. The report must adopt or reject all second house amendments and may include other changes. A digest of a conference committee report must be prepared by the staff before a vote on the report. (House Rules 6.14, 8.27, and 7.11 and Senate Rule 13.21 and 12.12)


The written instrument stating the fundamental principles of a state government. Unlike the federal constitution, a state constitution's provisions are not grants of power, but, instead, are limitations on the otherwise plenary power of the people of a state, exercised through its legislature.

Constitutional Amendment - See Joint Resolution.


A citizen residing within a legislator's district.


The assembling of a legislative body. Usually refers to the initial convening of a legislative session.


A legislative instrument scheduled for hearing by a committee may be voluntarily deferred upon the request of the author or member handling the instrument. An instrument voluntarily deferred without objection may be rescheduled for committee hearing. A legislative instrument is involuntarily deferred when so ordered by a vote of a majority of the committee members present and voting, notwithstanding the request of the author or member handling it to report the instrument. An involuntarily deferred instrument may be rescheduled for a committee hearing (after opportunity for hearing all other House instruments requested to be heard) only by the vote of two-thirds of the committee members present and voting. During a session, the indefinite postponement of a bill usually means that the bill is dead for that legislative session. (House Rules 6.9 and 6.10)


A summary of the substance of a legislative instrument which appears at the end of the text of the instrument. It explains changes in the law proposed by a bill. Redigests also include a summary of amendments adopted. Digests of legislation as finally passed comprise the Resume, which is the publication describing all legislation passed by the legislature in a given session. (Joint Rule 6, House Rules 7.9(B) and 7.11 and Senate Rule 7.6)


(1) A list of all legislative instruments pending before a committee or the full body of the legislature.
(2) A central location for filing of official legislative instruments and publications.

Effective Date

Date upon which enacted bills and constitutional amendments take effect.

(1) Acts from an annual regular session: Unless the Act itself states an earlier or later date, all Acts become effective on August 1 after the regular legislative session during which they are adopted.

(2) Acts from an extraordinary session: Unless the Act itself states an earlier or later date, all Acts become effective on the 60th day after final adjournment of the extraordinary session in which they were enacted.

(3) Constitutional amendments: Unless the amendment provides otherwise, constitutional amendments approved by the voters become effective 20 days after issuance of the governor's proclamation that they have been adopted.

Enacting clause

The language "Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana", which is established by the constitution as the style of law enacted by the legislature. Without it a bill is unconstitutional. (Const. Art. III, §14)

End Consideration of Amendments

A motion that, when adopted, prevents the House from adopting any other amendments on the instrument pending, except the amendment under consideration at the time, an amendment to change coauthors, or technical amendments. (House Rule 9.13 and Senate Rule 11.11) (Also see Previous Question)

Executive Order

A written document issued by the governor to accomplish a purpose over which he has authority, such as establishment of executive branch policies, the declaration of certain holidays, establishment of a study or other commission or committee, or other directive within his power as chief executive. Executive branch agencies may also be created by executive order for a limited period. Termination date varies as specified by law. (R.S. 49:215)

Executive Session

When considering matters related to confidential communications and confirmation of appointments the Senate or the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee and when acting upon confidential or executive business, the Senate may hold closed sessions. However, all votes with respect to confirmation in the Senate or in the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee shall be taken in open session. (House Rule 14.11 and Senate Rule 16.2 and 16.4)

Fiscal note

An estimate of the fiscal effect of a bill, joint resolution, simple or concurrent resolution which will affect the receipt, expenditure, or allocation of state funds or funds of any political subdivision of the state or that will authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds or other general obligations of the state for capital outlay purposes. Must be attached prior to consideration by a committee of either house unless a committee decides otherwise. Not a part of the law proposed by the measure to which it is attached. (Joint Rule 4, House Rules 6.8(F)(G) and 7.16 and Senate Rule 7.14)

Fiscal year

The 12 month period for which appropriations, budgets and financial reports are made. The state's fiscal year commences on July 1 and ends the following June 30. (R.S. 39:53)


Figure of speech meaning the floor of the House or Senate while that body is in session. Referred to in legislative procedure: the bill is "on the floor". Members recognized to speak on debate are said to "have the floor". (House Rule 1.2)


Balcony above the House and Senate chambers from which visitors may view proceedings. (House Rule 1.2 and Senate Rule 1.2)


The relevance of amendments and a substitute bill to an original bill. The constitution and rules require that amendments and substitute bills be germane to the original bill. (Const. Art. III, §15(C) and House Rules 11.1 and 6.12(B) and Senate Rule 8.2)


Legislation requiring that mandated health insurance benefits or options must be accompanied by an impact report prior to committee consideration unless the committee decides otherwise. The legislative fiscal officer is responsible for obtaining, directly or indirectly, this information. (R.S. 24:603.1)


The interval between annual regular sessions. Committees can conduct studies and can hear, debate, amend, and determine their reports on pre-filed bills at this time. (Joint Rule 13, House Rules 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, 14.20, 14.24, 14.26, 14.27, 14.29, 14.45, and also 6.11, 6.3, 4.7, 7.2 and 12.7 and Senate Rules 3.3(14), 13.12, 13.13, 13.14, 13.15, 13.16, 13.19 and 13.20)

Joint Resolutions (Constitutional Amendments)

Proposed amendments to the constitution are proposed by joint resolutions which have a title containing a brief summary of the changes proposed; be confined to one object; and shall set forth the entire article, sections, or other subdivisions thereof, proposed to be revised or added. For purposes of procedural handling, joint resolutions are treated as bills and other legislative instruments by the respective legislative clerical officers, except for the requirement that enrolled bills be submitted to the governor after enrollment for his signature. (Const. Arts. XIII, §1 and III, §15(A) and House Rules 6.8 and 7.1, and Senate Rules 7.1, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.10, 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, 10.15, 10.16 and 10.17)

Joint sessions

Formal meeting of the members of both houses together. Held in the House chamber. (Joint Rule No. 1 and Senate Rule 3.3(24))


A record of daily proceedings of each house: the House Journal, Senate Journal. Also refers to the final compilation of journals which is published as the end of each session as a set (which also includes the Legislative Calendar). (Const. Art. III, §10(B) and Joint Rule 1 and House Rules 2.10, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 and 12.5 and Senate Rules 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4, 14.5, 14.6 and 14.7)


General subject of bill or resolution that appears above the heading ("An Act", "A Joint Resolution", etc.) Not part of proposed law.

Legislative Bureau

A group composed of two members of the Legislature, one selected by each house, and ex officio, the secretary of the Senate, the clerk of the House, and unofficially the executive director of the Legislative Bureau. Bills, joint resolutions, and suspense resolutions are referred to the bureau prior to advancement to third reading in the second house. The bureau makes an advisory report on the construction of the instrument and any duplication and may suggest amendments. The bureau also must examine each instrument upon its engrossment and passage to third reading in the house of origin and make recommendations for floor amendments. (Joint Rule No. 3 and House Rules 7.20, 8.19, and 11.4 and Senate Rule 10.15)

Legislative Day

A calendar day on which either house of the legislature is in session. (Const. Art. III, §2(A)(1) and House Rule 8.1)

Legislative Instrument

One of the following: a bill; a concurrent resolution; a resolution. (Bill includes a joint resolution.) (House Rule 7.1 and Senate Rule 7.1)

Legislative Intent

The purpose for which a measure is enacted and the meaning of the measure which the legislature intended, often determined in reviewing committee proceeding tapes or transcripts and floor proceedings.


Persons paid to represent various interest groups and others to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. (R.S. 24:50, 24:51, 24:52, 24:53, 24:54, 24:55, 24:56, 24:57, and 24:58, and House Rule 3.4)

Local and Special Laws

A law affecting only one or more particular local areas, such as one or more particular parishes or municipalities (local law). A law that, because of its restrictions, can operate upon or affect only a portion of citizens or a fraction of property embraced within a classification (special law). (Const. Art. III, §§12 and 13) (Also see Official Journal)

Local Notice

Published notice of intention to introduce a bill which will apply only to a designated area of the state, such as a single parish or municipality. Must be published in the locality where the matter to be affected is situated. (Const. Art. III, §13)


The temporary disabling of the voting machine of any member who does not answer a quorum call before a record vote (House Rule 4.5) ( Also see Quorum Call)


A simple or concurrent resolution which expresses views of one or both houses and requests a course of action be taken by officials or departments, usually Congress.

Motion to Reconsider

A motion which, if successful, returns the question to its status before adoption of the motion to reconsider. (House Rules 8.28, 9.2, 9.11, 9.14, and 11.5, and Senate Rules 10.18, 11.2, and 11.12)

Official Journal

The newspaper of general circulation in which official notices and announcements of the state or units of local government are published. The official journal of the state is The Advocate (Baton Rouge). Notices of intent to introduce retirement bills are published in the official state journal. Notices of intent to introduce local bills are published in the local official journals. (Const. Art. III, §13 and Art. X, §29(C) and R.S. 43:81 et seq. and 141 et seq.)


A phrase or sentence that describes a bill or resolution. It appears on the bill or resolution after the keyword and before the heading ("An Act", "A Joint Resolution", etc.). It is not part of the proposed law and may be referred to as "summary". (Also see Keyword)

Order of the Day

(1) The order of business followed in each house of the legislature in transacting its daily business. (House Rules 8.1, 8.2, 8.5, and 8.26 and Senate Rules 10.2 and Chapter 10 of the Senate Rules generally )

(2) A legislative document prepared daily in each house of the legislature by the office of the House Clerk and Senate Secretary reflecting expected or proposed action on legislative instruments, organized by the order of the day in which action may occur. (Also see Calendar) (House Rule 2.10 and Senate Rules 3.7 and 10.7)

Point of Order

The parliamentary device that is used to require a deliberative body to observe its own rules and to follow established parliamentary practice. A member raises a point of order and asks for a ruling of the chair as to the correct procedure. If the member disagrees with the chair's ruling, he may appeal the ruling of the chair to a vote of the entire house. (House Rules 5.6 and 9.12 and Senate Rules 6.3 and 6.10)

Point of Personal Privilege

Parliamentary device by which members gain the floor to comment on matters affecting their rights, reputation, or conduct in their representative capacity.

Previous question

A motion that, if successful, closes debate and brings the house to a vote on the question under consideration. A motion in the form of previous question on the entire subject matter, if successful, ends debate on the main question and requires immediate voting on any subsidiary motion or amendments and then on the main question. (House Rules 9.10 and 9.14(A)(13) and (14) and Senate Rule 11.11) (Also see End consideration of amendments)

Public hearing

Meetings held by committees at which members of the public, lobbyists, legislators, and state agency representatives generally address issues before the legislature. (Const. III, §15(D) and House Rules 6.9, 6.11, and 14.32 and Senate Rules 13.8 and 13.78)


The number of members required to conduct business. (Const. III, §10(A) and Joint Rule 8 and House Rules 4.3, 4.4, 14.36, 14.37, 14.38, 14.39 and 14.40, and Senate Rules 5.3, 5.4, 13.82, 13.83, 13.84, and 13.85)

Quorum Call

Opening of the voting machine for a roll call to determine whether or not a quorum is present. (House Rule 4.5 and Senate Rule 5.5)

Reading of a Bill

Constitution requires that each bill must be read at least by title on three separate days in each house. (Const. Art. III, §15(D) and House Rules 8.9, 8.10, 8.12, 8.13, 8.16, 8.17, and 8.18 and Senate Rules 10.6, 10.8, 10.10, 10.13 and 10.14)


A redrawing of district boundaries for the election of an official in order to provide equality of representation, based on population. (Const. Art. III, §6)


An interruption or intermission during the course of the day's work. (House Rules 9.7 and 9.14(A)(23) and Senate Rule 11.13)


The reassignment of legislation to the last committee that considered it or to another committee. House Rules and Senate Rules require that certain instruments be recommitted to other committees after being reported by the committee to which initially referred. (House Rules 6.8 and 8.18 and Senate Rules 10.14, 13.5.1 and 13.5.2)


Permitting a vote to be considered and taken a second time. The initial vote on any question may be reconsidered whether the question carried in the affirmative or negative, but the motion to reconsider must be made by a member who voted on the side that prevailed. (Although provided by rule, this rarely occurs in the Senate.) (House Rules 8.28, 9.2, 9.11, 9.14(A)(16) and(17), and 11.5 and Senate Rules 10.18 and 11.2) (Also see Veto)


An assignment of legislation to a specific committee for consideration and report to the house. (House Rules 6.5 and 7.2 and Senate Rules 10.8, 10.9, and 13.4)


To delete and nullify a previously established law.


A legislative instrument that generally is used for making declarations, stating policies, and making decisions where some other form is not required. A bill includes the constitutionally required enacting clause; a resolution uses the term "resolved". Not subject to a time limit for introduction nor to governor's veto. (Const. Art. III, §17(B) and House Rules 8.11, 13.1, 6.8, and 7.4 and Senate Rules 10.9, 13.5 and 15.1)

Concurrent Resolution - Resolution to be considered by both houses that can be used to express legislative intent, authorize certain suits, adopt or change joint rules of the legislature, memorialize Congress, and request or direct a state agency to take a specified action. Can also be used to suspend a law. Joint Rule 3, House Rules 7.1, 7.4, 7.10, 7.16, and 12.3, and Senate Rules 7.1, 7.3, 7.9, 7.11, 7.12, 7.14, 12.10, and 14.3  ( Also see Suspension of law)

Joint Resolution - A proposal to change (amend) or repeal existing provisions of or to add new provisions to the constitution. It is designated a House or a Senate bill and requires passage by a 2/3 majority of each house to be placed on the election ballot. The favorable vote of a majority of all state electors voting on it is required for it to become effective (and a majority of those voting in the local area if it is local in nature.) (Const. Arts. XIII, §1 and III, §15 and House Rule 7.1)

Simple Resolution - Resolution passed by only one house that expresses an opinion or intent, but does not have the force of law. It may also be used to change the rules of a house. It takes effect upon adoption. (House Rules 7.1, 7.2, and 7.4)


Digest or summary prepared by staff of all legislative instruments finally passed - includes Acts, vetoed bills, and adopted resolutions and study requests. The digest distinguishes how the new law changes the old. Also includes statistical information for the session.

Revised Statutes

The Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950 is the entire codified body of effective general law aside from the Constitution, Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Evidence, and Children's Code. New law of general application is incorporated into the revised statutes by amending, repealing, or enacting provisions.

Ruling of Chair

See Point of Order.


The period during which the legislature assembles and carries on its business. The legislature meets annually in regular session. (Const. Art. III, §2 and §18)

Regular session - In odd-numbered years a regular session is restricted to not more than 45 legislative days within a period of 60 calendar days; in even-numbered years, it is restricted to not more than 60 legislative days within 85 days. The subject matter of regular sessions in odd-numbered years is limited to specified fiscal matters, with certain exceptions. (Const. Art. III, §2(A))

Extraordinary session - Such a session is limited to not more than 30 days. There is no restriction on the number of extraordinary sessions that can be held in one year. The governor may call the session; the presiding officers must call an extraordinary session if a majority of each house petition for an extraordinary session. The call defines the subject scope. Also called a "special session." (Const. Art. III, §2(B))

Organizational session - Session held on the day legislators take office for the primary purpose of judging the members' qualifications and elections, taking the oath of office, organizing the two houses, and selecting officers. (Const. Art. III, §2(D) and House Rules 2.3 and 2.9, and Senate Rule 2.1)

Veto session - Session required by the constitution to be held on the 40th day following final adjournment of the most recent session to consider all bills vetoed by the governor. Not held if a majority of either house declare it unnecessary in writing. (Const. Art. III, §18)

Special Order

The order of business in which bills or resolutions to be considered at a specifically fixed time rather than their regular order are placed. Used for controversial or time-consuming bills. A bill is placed on special order by the favorable vote of a majority of those present and voting, provided the standing committee which reported the bill recommends such placement. (House Rules 8.4, 8.5 and 8.6 and Senate Rule 10.16)

Study Request

A legislative instrument which requests a standing committee or committees to conduct a study of an issue or item during the interim between legislative sessions. A study request does not go through the traditional approval process of other legislative instruments, but rather is adopted if, after a specific period of time, there is no objection made to the proposed study request. (Joint Rule 13)

Concurrent - A request for a study by a standing committee of each house of the legislature.

Simple - A request for a study by a standing committee of one house of the legislature.

Subject to Call Calendar

See Calendar.

Substitute Bill

A new bill included in a committee report to be substituted for the bill referred to and reported by the committee. Such bills are given a number and processed in the same manner as an original bill except that no further committee report is necessary in the house of introduction. House bills in the Senate may not be reported "by substitute," nor may Senate bills in the House be so reported. (Joint Rule 5 and House Rule 6.12 and Senate Rule 13.10)


See One-Liner.

Suspension of Law

The legislature may suspend a law for a restricted period of time by adoption of a Concurrent Resolution, and, as such, the Resolution has the effect of law. It is not subject to the governor's veto. (Const. Art. III, §20 and Joint Rule 3 and House Rule 8.11)

Suspension of Rules

Parliamentary procedure whereby actions can be taken which would otherwise be out of order. Suspension of House Rules requires a 2/3 vote. Suspension of Senate Rules requires a majority vote of the elected members. (House Rule 13.2 and Senate Rule 15.2)


A bill is tabled (and usually dead) upon adoption of a motion by majority vote to "lay on the table." As a parliamentary maneuver, it is an alternate way to kill a bill. It takes a 2/3 vote of those present to call a bill from the table. In the Senate, a motion once laid on the table shall not again be called from the table. (House Rules 9.5, 9.8, 9.9, 9.11, and 9.14(A)(11) and Senate Rules 11.9, 11.10, and 11.13)


(1) A concise statement appearing at the beginning of a bill which is indicative of the object of the bill as required by the constitution and embraces the significant aspects of the subject content of the bill. (Const. Art. III, §15(A), and House Rule 7.4 and Senate Rules 7.3 and 7.4)

(2) The largest subdivision of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. The revised statutes are comprised of Titles 1 through 56.


Governor's disapproval of an enrolled bill. Has the effect of killing the bill unless the legislature subsequently votes to override the governor's action by a 2/3 vote of each house. (Const. Art. III, §18 and Art. IV, §5(G), and House Rule 8.28 and Senate Rule 10.18) (Also see Session, Veto session.)

Item veto - Power exercised by the governor to veto specified items (single appropriations) of an appropriation bill, although signing the remainder of the bill into law. (Const. Art. IV, §5(G))


Record vote - A formal roll call of a house or committee of the legislature in which each member's vote ( yea or nay or abstention) on a motion is recorded (manually or electronically). Such vote is also recorded in the committee records and minutes and, in the case of floor action, in the Journal of the House or Senate. Certain votes are required to be record votes. (Const. Art. III, §§10(B) and 15(G), and House Rules 4.5, 10.9, 12.2, 6.22(B), and 14.43 and Senate Rules 12.1, 12.4, and 12.10)

Voice vote (Viva Voce) - A vote taken orally or electronically in which the vote of each member is not permanently recorded. Response is given to the clerk calling the roll (or on the voting machine) in the form of yea or nay, with only the overall totals being recorded in the House or Senate Journal. (Traditionally, viva voce meant a pure voice vote, the calling for the vote by the presiding officer, and the often shouted, concurrent responses by the membership, with the presiding officer judging the outcome.) All roll call votes in committee are record votes. Election of the Speaker, the Speaker Pro Tempore, and the Clerk is conducted by voice vote. (House Rule 2.3 and Senate Rules 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, 13.90, 13.91, and 14.2)

Vote to Reconsider

See Reconsideration.


One legislator relinquishing the floor to another to speak or ask a question during debate. (House Rule 5.7)

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