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FAQs

How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Steps

1. Drafting & Introduction

A legislator has an idea for a Bill, usually from a constituent.

The legislative members present the idea and requests that it be drafted into a bill. In January, when the General Assembly meets, the House Representatives and Senators introduce their bills in their respective chambers.

2. Committee Action

The bill is referred to a committee. The members of the committee debate the issues and decide what action to take. This is when the public may speak for or against the bill.

After listening to the testimony, the committee will vote to recommend the passage of the bill or the defeat of the bill. The committee may also offer changes (called amendments). If the committee recommends passage of the bill, it then goes back to the chamber where it was introduced.

3. "Floor" Action

Once the bill passes in committee, the title of the bill must be read three times in the chamber in which it was introduced (House or Senate).

First Reading: The bill is read by the Clerk.

Second Reading: The bill may be amended after it has been read a second time. The bill is then debated on the Floor.

Third Reading: During the third reading, the bill may be debated and a final vote is taken.

4. Voting

Once the bill passes in the chamber in which it was introduced, it is then sent to the other chamber (House or Senate). In the other chamber, a similar process of committee action, floor debate, and voting takes place. If the bill passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it is then sent to the Governor.

If the bill is amended by the other chamber, it is then returned to the body from which it originated for approval of the amendment.

5. Governor's Action

Once passed in both chambers, the bill must be approved by the governor.

The Governor may:

  • Sign the bill into law.
  • Amend the bill and return it to the General Assembly for approval.
  • Veto the bill and return it to the General Assembly, where the House of Representatives and the Senate may override the Governor’s veto with a simple majority vote of both chambers.
  • Take no action and the bill becomes a law without his signature.

6. Law

Bills that become laws during the Regular Session are effective 90 days after the final, official day of session, unless otherwise specified.

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Bills are introduced every session that began when an Arkansan approached their legislator.


In fact, some laws even began as ideas from students.  This video shows a recent example:

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Bills introduced in the state legislature begin with either with the letters “HB” or “SB”.

Bills introduced in the United States House of Representatives are preceded by "H.R.". Bills introduced in the United States Senate are assigned sequential numbers preceded by "S.".

Under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved for the states and the people.

Any immigration laws, federal tax adjustments, national security or foreign relations issues are addressed by the federal government in Washington DC.

Most education, criminal justice, foster care, and highway legislation is addressed at the state level.

While it is the federal government’s responsibility to fund Medicaid, many of the implementation decisions, including Arkansas Works, are made at the state level.

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Categories Bills & Resolutions

Personalize Your Bill Tracking Experience

Create a new user account or log in to customize your bill tracking experience:

  • Add Senate or House Bills to by number
  • Track Bill status in current session
  • Make personal notes about each bill
  • Group bills into user created groups
  • Create custom reports for each bill or group of bills
  • Automatically receive a daily email of changes to the bills you are tracking

Personalized Bill Tracking

The Bureau

Bills & Resolutions can be found on the Bureau of Legislative Research's website. 

The Bureau is operated for the benefit of and the assistance to every member of the General Assembly.  The Bureau serves the members of the General Assembly on a nonpartisan and impartial basis.  The Bureau researches issues for legislators, prepares legislation, and may provide advice concerning constitutional, statutory, and practical issues concerning the legislation.

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Categories Bills & Resolutions

Most Recent Activity

See which bills are active today or yesterday.

Recent Bill Activity

The Bureau

Bills & Resolutions can be found on the Bureau of Legislative Research's website. The Bureau is operated for the benefit of and the assistance to every member of the General Assembly.  The Bureau serves the members of the General Assembly on a nonpartisan and impartial basis.  The Bureau researches issues for legislators, prepares legislation, and may provide advice concerning constitutional, statutory, and practical issues concerning the legislation.

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Categories Bills & Resolutions

Most Recently Filed

See which bills have been filed today or yesterday.

Recently Filed Bills

The Bureau

Bills & Resolutions can be found on the Bureau of Legislative Research's website. The Bureau is operated for the benefit of and the assistance to every member of the General Assembly.  The Bureau serves the members of the General Assembly on a nonpartisan and impartial basis.  The Bureau researches issues for legislators, prepares legislation, and may provide advice concerning constitutional, statutory, and practical issues concerning the legislation.

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Categories Bills & Resolutions

Search Bills

The Bureau

Bills & Resolutions can be found on the Bureau of Legislative Research's website. 

The Bureau is operated for the benefit of and the assistance to every member of the General Assembly.  The Bureau serves the members of the General Assembly on a nonpartisan and impartial basis.  The Bureau researches issues for legislators, prepares legislation, and may provide advice concerning constitutional, statutory, and practical issues concerning the legislation.

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Categories Bills & Resolutions

Searching By Range

View bills through categories such as:

  • House Bills
  • House Joint Resolutions
  • Senate Bills
  • Senate Joint Resolutions

Bills by Range

The Bureau

Bills & Resolutions can be found on the Bureau of Legislative Research's website. The Bureau is operated for the benefit of and the assistance to every member of the General Assembly.  The Bureau serves the members of the General Assembly on a nonpartisan and impartial basis.  The Bureau researches issues for legislators, prepares legislation, and may provide advice concerning constitutional, statutory, and practical issues concerning the legislation.

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Categories Committees

A recent rule change gives the Speaker of the House the power to assign every member to a committee.

However, there are other rules in place that ensure each committee represents all four corners of the state.

For standing committees, the Speaker selects 5 members from each House District Caucus. There are 4 equally divided District Caucuses in Arkansas based on population.

Each member serves on one “A” standing committee and one “B” standing committee. Each standing committee has 20 members. Most legislation begins in a standing committee.

Visit our committee page to learn about select and special committees.

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Categories Committees

Standing Committees

The Arkansas House of Representatives has ten standing committees, where members meet to review and discuss bills, resolutions and interim studies before Members decide whether to send the measures to the full body for consideration. 

A & B Categories

The ten House committees are split evenly into A and B categories. All House Members serve on one A Committee and one B Committee. 

Leadership

The Speaker appoints a chairperson and vice chairperson to each standing committee.

Subcommittees

Additionally, all standing House committees have a number of subcommittees. The Speaker of the House appoints members from the standing committee to serve as chair and vice chair of individual subcommittees. The chair and vice chairperson from each A and B committee serve as ex-officio members on all subcommittees.

Permalink for this answer

Bills introduced in the state legislature begin with either with the letters “HB” or “SB”.

Bills introduced in the United States House of Representatives are preceded by "H.R.". Bills introduced in the United States Senate are assigned sequential numbers preceded by "S.".

Under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved for the states and the people.

Any immigration laws, federal tax adjustments, national security or foreign relations issues are addressed by the federal government in Washington DC.

Most education, criminal justice, foster care, and highway legislation is addressed at the state level.

While it is the federal government’s responsibility to fund Medicaid, many of the implementation decisions, including Arkansas Works, are made at the state level.

Permalink for this answer

Role

The Speaker of the House presides over the body of the House of Representatives. He or she is elected by House membership every two years. The Speaker's duties include:

  • the supervision of & directing the daily order of business,
  • certifying all measures passed,
  • assigning committee leadership, and
  • naming members to select committees.

Learn about the current Speaker

See the Speaker's Page

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Categories General Assembly

The Arkansas House of Representatives is made up of 100 Members. Each member represents approximately 30,000 Arkansans.

Legislators may serve on multiple committees during their tenures, both during legislative sessions and in the interim, between regular and fiscal sessions, which means there is always work being done in the House of Representatives.

Still, Arkansas’s legislature is considered a part-time citizen legislature. Most House Members have full-time careers in addition to their legislative obligations. Members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Having a diverse membership helps the House of Representatives more effectively serve the people of Arkansas.

Qualifications for House members are addressed in Article 5 of the Arkansas State Constitution. In order to run for a House seat, a person must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Arkansas and a resident of the county or district in which he or she is seeking election. House members must be at least 21 years old to serve.

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Categories Historical Records

When legislators began meeting in the current House chamber in 1911, electric lighting was still a new concept. There was no audio system to help members hear testimony from the floor. The furniture made its way from the Old State House in a wagon less than 24 hours before session began.

Most recently the chamber underwent a restoration project in 2018. 

Learn more.

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How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Steps

1. Drafting & Introduction

A legislator has an idea for a Bill, usually from a constituent.

The legislative members present the idea and requests that it be drafted into a bill. In January, when the General Assembly meets, the House Representatives and Senators introduce their bills in their respective chambers.

2. Committee Action

The bill is referred to a committee. The members of the committee debate the issues and decide what action to take. This is when the public may speak for or against the bill.

After listening to the testimony, the committee will vote to recommend the passage of the bill or the defeat of the bill. The committee may also offer changes (called amendments). If the committee recommends passage of the bill, it then goes back to the chamber where it was introduced.

3. "Floor" Action

Once the bill passes in committee, the title of the bill must be read three times in the chamber in which it was introduced (House or Senate).

First Reading: The bill is read by the Clerk.

Second Reading: The bill may be amended after it has been read a second time. The bill is then debated on the Floor.

Third Reading: During the third reading, the bill may be debated and a final vote is taken.

4. Voting

Once the bill passes in the chamber in which it was introduced, it is then sent to the other chamber (House or Senate). In the other chamber, a similar process of committee action, floor debate, and voting takes place. If the bill passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it is then sent to the Governor.

If the bill is amended by the other chamber, it is then returned to the body from which it originated for approval of the amendment.

5. Governor's Action

Once passed in both chambers, the bill must be approved by the governor.

The Governor may:

  • Sign the bill into law.
  • Amend the bill and return it to the General Assembly for approval.
  • Veto the bill and return it to the General Assembly, where the House of Representatives and the Senate may override the Governor’s veto with a simple majority vote of both chambers.
  • Take no action and the bill becomes a law without his signature.

6. Law

Bills that become laws during the Regular Session are effective 90 days after the final, official day of session, unless otherwise specified.

Permalink for this answer

Bills are introduced every session that began when an Arkansan approached their legislator.


In fact, some laws even began as ideas from students.  This video shows a recent example:

Permalink for this answer

Role

The Speaker of the House presides over the body of the House of Representatives. He or she is elected by House membership every two years. The Speaker's duties include:

  • the supervision of & directing the daily order of business,
  • certifying all measures passed,
  • assigning committee leadership, and
  • naming members to select committees.

Learn about the current Speaker

See the Speaker's Page

Permalink for this answer
Categories Kids In The House

Arkansas's legislature is considered a part-time citizen legislature, so most House members have full-time careers in addition to their legislative obligations.

Members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. Having a diverse membership helps the House of Representatives more effectively serve the people of Arkansas.

Permalink for this answer

Bills are introduced every session that began when an Arkansan approached their legislator.


In fact, some laws even began as ideas from students.  This video shows a recent example:

Permalink for this answer