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Missouri Legislative History: Legislative Process & Documents

Preliminary Consideration

Documents may exist before a proposal is introduced as a bill. Select examples: Interim committees are appointed by the state legislature to study and report on topics to be considered for future legislation.  Speeches such as the State of the State by the governor and the House Speaker opening address discuss future legislation proposals.

Missouri House of Representatives - Interim Committees
Current interim committee information is linked from the House homepage.  Once complete, the interim committee report is usually posted on the website.  Not all interim committees produce a report.  The legislative library in Jefferson City keeps a hard copy of past interim committee reports.  Limited access to past interim committee reports can be found through the individual links in the House online session archives.

Missouri Senate - Interim Committees
Current interim committee information is linked from the committee section of the Senate homepage.  Once complete, the interim committee report is usually posted on the website.  Not all interim committees produce a report.  The legislative library in Jefferson City keeps a hard copy of past interim committee reports.  Limited access to past interim committee reports can be found through the individual links in the Senate online session archives.

House Speaker opening address can be found on the House Comunications News page by looking for news posted on opening day of session.

Missouri Governor State of the State current speeches can be found on the Governor's site > news > speeches.  The Missouri State Archives has digitized a collection of Missouri Governors Records from 1836-1897.  State of the State speeches are also reprinted in the House and Senate Journals.  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899

A bill is introduced and assigned a bill number.

Members may prefile beginning Dec. 1 preceding the opening of General Assembly session.  Bills prefiled are introduced on first day of session.  Members may introduce bills through the 60th day of the session.

Internet:  Joint bill tracking information and full text of bills are provided from the Missouri House of Representative homepage.

Microfilm:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfilmed bills from the 81st General Assembly (1981) to the past legislative session.

1st and 2nd reading of the bill in the House or Senate.

First reading of the bill is by House reading clerk and is number and title only.  It goes on the calendar for second reading.  After the second reading the bill is assigned to committee. Notification of readings are found in the House and Senate Journals.

Internet:  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899.

Microfiche:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfiche of the Journals from the 83rd General Assembly (1986) to the past legislative session.

Print:  The MU Law Library has print copies of the Journals from the 14th General Assembly (mid-1800s) to the 83rd General Assembly (1985).  They are located on the 2nd floor in state documents (SS 11:).

WestlawNext (password required): WestlawNext provides access to House Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions. Senate Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions.

Committee assignment

Every bill is assigned to a committee. 

Links to the House Committees and Senate Committees are available from their homepages.  The committee page will list the "bills assigned to committe". 

Limited access to past interim committee information can be found through the individual links in the Senate Archives and House Archives pages.

Public hearing

In the public hearing before the committee the bill is presented to the committee by its sponsor, and both proponents and opponents are generally heard in a single hearing.

Internet: Links to House hearings schedule and Senate hearings schedule are available from their homepages.

No tapes or transcripts of the hearings are currently available to the public.

For older hearings schedules go to the House past session archives or Senate past session archives.  Find your bill number and click on the hearings link.

Committee executive session

After a hearing, committee may meet to vote and make its recommendations.   The committee may vote to recommend to the House:
A.    Do pass.
B.    Do pass with committee amendments.
C.    Do pass with a committee substitute.
D.    Do not pass. (Takes 82 member vote to take it up)
E.    Report to House without recommendation.

Recommendations from the committees are printed in the House and Senate Journals.

No tapes or transcripts of these sessions are currently available to the public.

Internet:  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899.

Microfiche:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfiche of the Journals from the 83rd General Assembly (1986) to the past legislative session.

Print:  The MU Law Library has print copies of the Journals from the 14th General Assembly (mid-1800s) to the 83rd General Assembly (1985).  They are located on the 2nd floor in state documents (SS 11:).

WestlawNext (password required): WestlawNext provides access to House Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions. Senate Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions.

Perfection of a bill

Debate takes place on the bill and its possible amendments or substitute. House and Senate Journals will print amendments.   House will vote to have bill "perfected and printed" with any changes incorporated in the bill.

Live audio floor debates are available from the Missouri General Assembly homepage when the House or Senate is in session.  Currently the floor debate tapes are not transcribed.  The Missouri Secretary of State's office provides audio records via the TheMissouriChannel.com.

House and Senate Journal information:
Internet:  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899.
Microfiche:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfiche of the Journals from the 83rd General Assembly (1986) to the past legislative session.
Print:  The MU Law Library has print copies of the Journals from the 14th General Assembly (mid-1800s) to the 83rd General Assembly (1985).  They are located on the 2nd floor in state documents (SS 11:).
WestlawNext (password required): WestlawNext provides access to House Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions. Senate Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions.

Bill tracking information and full text of bills:
Internet:  Joint bill tracking information and full text of bills are provided from the Missouri House of Representative homepage.
Microfilm:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfilmed bills from the 81st General Assembly (1981) to the past legislative session.

3rd reading and final passage

Debate may occur on the floor.  Recorded vote is taken.
Recorded votes are reported in the House and Senate Journals.

Live audio floor debates are available from the Missouri General Assembly homepage when the House or Senate is in session.  Currently the floor debate tapes are not transcribed.  The tapes are not archived.

House and Senate Journal information:
Internet:  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899.
Microfiche:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfiche of the Journals from the 83rd General Assembly (1986) to the past legislative session.
Print:  The MU Law Library has print copies of the Journals from the 14th General Assembly (mid-1800s) to the 83rd General Assembly (1985).  They are located on the 2nd floor in state documents (SS 11:).
WestlawNext (password required): WestlawNext provides access to House Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions. Senate Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions.

Action in the second chamber

After the bill is passed in either the House or Senate, it is sent to the other chamber and the whole process is repeated.

Bill tracking information and full text of bills:
Internet:  Joint bill tracking information and full text of bills are provided from the Missouri House of Representative homepage.
Microfilm:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfilmed bills from the 81st General Assembly (1981) to the past legislative session.

Final conference action

If different versions are passed by each house another vote is take on the changes.  If passed, bill is Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed and sent to Governor.  If changes are rejected a conference committee comprised of five members of each house works out the differences and each reports back to its own house with recommendation for another vote.  The House and Senate Journals will record the committee recommendations.

House and Senate Journal information:
Internet:  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899.
Microfiche:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfiche of the Journals from the 83rd General Assembly (1986) to the past legislative session.
Print:  The MU Law Library has print copies of the Journals from the 14th General Assembly (mid-1800s) to the 83rd General Assembly (1985).  They are located on the 2nd floor in state documents (SS 11:).
WestlawNext (password required): WestlawNext provides access to House Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions. Senate Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions.

Bill tracking information and full text of bills:
Internet:  Joint bill tracking information and full text of bills are provided from the Missouri House of Representative homepage.
Microfilm:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfilmed bills from the 81st General Assembly (1981) to the past legislative session.

Governor approval

Options for governor:
A.    Sign the bill, making it Missouri law.
B.    Veto the bill, returns to the General Assembly where it needs 2/3 vote of both houses to override.
C.    Not sign the bill.  Goes to Sec. Of State who enrolls bill making it Missouri law.
D.    Veto line-items in appropriation bills only.  General Assembly may override with 2/3 vote in both houses.

Legislative action taken by the Governor is found in the news section of the Govenor's homepage.

Communications from the governor, such as reasons for vetoed bills, are printed in the House and Senate Journals.

House and Senate Journal information:
Internet:  Current House Journals and current Senate Journals are available online.  Missouri State Archives digitized the House and Senate Journals 1820-1899.
Microfiche:  The MU Law Library IT suite on the 2nd floor contains microfiche of the Journals from the 83rd General Assembly (1986) to the past legislative session.
Print:  The MU Law Library has print copies of the Journals from the 14th General Assembly (mid-1800s) to the 83rd General Assembly (1985).  They are located on the 2nd floor in state documents (SS 11:).
WestlawNext (password required): WestlawNext provides access to House Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions. Senate Journals from the 90th General Assembly (1999-2000) through current sessions.

Effective date of laws

No law passed by the General Assembly can take effect until ninety days after the end of the session at which it was enacted (August 28 for regular sessions). However, if a bill was passed with an emergency clause attached, it takes effect immediately upon the Governor's signature. In addition, some bills specify the exact date when they are to take effect, which is usually a period of time longer than ninety days.

Publication of Missouri laws

All bills which become law are reported to the Secretary of State. The Joint Committee on Legislative Research publishes each year's laws in the Laws of Missouri. In addition, the Revisor of Statutes updates another publication, the Revised Statutes of Missouri, to reflect the changes made in the law each year.

Internet: The Revised Statutes of Missouri are available online.

Print: The Laws of Missouri, Revised Statutes of Missouri, and Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes are available in various locations of the MU Law Library including MO Ref (low level shelving on the 1st floor) and at the circulation desk on Reserve.

WestlawNext (password required) provides access to Vernon's Annotated Missouri Statutes.