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KRUSE REPORT: How Does a Bill Become Indiana Law?
Start Date: 1/14/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 1/14/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

By State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn)

A new year and new legislative session have begun, bringing a wide variety of topics to the General Assembly for consideration. In the months to come, lawmakers will craft proposals to address Hoosiers’ ideas and concerns.

In odd numbered years, the General Assembly’s session lasts from January through April. This extended time allows legislators to debate numerous issues while also working on a new two-year state budget.

Fiscal responsibility has been the backbone of Indiana’s budgetary policy and has allowed our state to increase reserve funds to protect against potential economic downtowns. Our goal for this budget is to spend within our means and focus on areas such as education and infrastructure that will help grow Indiana’s economy. In addition to the state budget, issues expected to be discussed this session include vocational education funding, sentencing reform and improving the management and performance of the Department of Child Services.

How might some of these issues become laws? Here is a timeline of how a bill becomes an Indiana law:

  • IDEA DEVELOPED: Once a citizen, interest group, public official or the governor suggests an idea for a new law to a legislator, the legislator can choose to author or sponsor the idea as a bill. Other lawmakers in the same chamber may join as co-authors or co-sponsors of the bill in order to show their support for the legislation.
  • BILL DRAFTED: The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency provides research and drafting assistance at the legislator’s discretion to prepare the bill in proper technical form.
  • BILL INTRODUCED: After the bill has been filed in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, it is introduced to the legislative body.
  • REFERRED TO COMMITTEE: The Senate President Pro Tempore or the Speaker of the House of Representatives refers the bill to a committee for review.
  • COMMITTEE ACTION: Committee chairmen schedule bill hearings that are open to the public. Anyone may ask to speak on a bill at these hearings.
  • SECOND READING: If the committee approves the bill, it is read before members of the entire chamber. During this reading, the bill may be amended through a majority vote of lawmakers.
  • THIRD READING: The bill passes with a majority vote. In the Senate, 26 of 50 members are needed, while 51 of 100 members are needed in the House of Representatives.
  • SECOND CHAMBER: The bill goes through the same voting process in the second chamber. If the bill is amended, it must be approved in its new form by the original chamber for it to be sent to the governor’s desk.
  • CONFERENCE COMMITTEE: If the chamber of origin disagrees with the second chamber’s amendments, the bill arrives at a four-member bipartisan conference committee. If the committee reaches an agreement, both chambers must approve the bill for it to be sent to the governor.
  • GOVERNOR: Once the governor receives the bill, he must sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature. Vetoed bills may still become law if the veto is overridden by a majority vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

I encourage anyone who would like to voice an opinion on any issues affecting our state to email me at or to write to the following address:

State Sen. Dennis Kruse
Indiana Senate
200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

An informed and active public makes for a great legislative session. You can participate in the lawmaking process by contacting me with the answer to this question: What do you think?

Contact Information:
Name: Tracy Lytwyn
Phone: 317-234-9221
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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