Enactment of a Law
When all committee amendments and all Senators' floor amendments
have been disposed of, the bill is ordered engrossed and read a third time,
which step ends the amendatory process. The third reading is by title only.
The question is then put upon passage of the bill, which requires a simple
majority vote. If a resolution has a preamble, it may be agreed to, amended,
or stricken out after the resolution has been adopted. The title to a bill
is also acted upon after its passage; the title may be amended if amendments
made to the bill necessitate such a change. At any time before its passage,
a bill may be laid on the table or postponed indefinitely, either of which
motions has the effect of killing the bill. Alternatively, a bill may be
made a special order for a day certain, which requires a two-thirds vote;
laid aside temporarily; recommitted to the committee which reported the
bill; referred to a different committee; or displaced by taking up another
bill by a majority vote.
Most bills are passed by a voice vote only, but where a doubt is
raised in such a case, the Presiding Officer, or any Senator, before the
result is announced, may request a division of the Senate to determine
the question. Before the result of a voice or division vote has been announced,
a roll-call vote may be had upon the demand of one-fifth of the Senators
present, but at least 11--one fifth of the presumptive quorum of 51.
In the case of a yea-and-nay vote, any Senator who voted with the
prevailing side or who did not vote may, on the same calendar day or on
either of the next two days the Senate is actually in session, make a motion
to reconsider the question. On a voice vote or division vote, however,
any Senator may make the motion. If made before other business intervenes,
it may be proceeded with and is debatable. It may be laid on the table
without prejudice to the main question and is a final disposition of the
motion. A majority vote determines questions of reconsideration. If the
motion is agreed to, another vote may be taken on the question reconsidered;
if disagreed to, the first decision of the Senate is affirmed. The making
of such a motion is privileged but may not be made while another matter
is pending before the Senate.
Only one motion to reconsider the same question is in order. Such
a motion, under rule XIII, may be withdrawn by the mover by leave of the
Senate, which may be granted by a majority vote or by unanimous consent.
A bill cannot be transmitted to the House of Representatives while a motion
to reconsider remains unacted upon.
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