Glossary of Hawai`i Legislative Terms

A bill which has passed both houses of the Legislature, been enrolled, certified, approved by the Governor (or if not signed by the Governor, passes the required period without veto), or passed over the Governor's veto, and published.

Administration bill
A bill proposed by the executive branch which is usually signed "by request" by the presiding officer and which bears an alpha-numeric agency code at the bottom righthand corner of the bill.

An alteration of the language in a bill or resolution, usually proposed by a committee when it reports to the full house for action on its recommendations regarding a bill or resolution.

Amendment, floor
An amendment to a bill or resolution which is offered on the chamber floor when that bill or resolution is up for consideration by the full house.

A legislative authorization to make expenditures and incur obligations for specific governmental purposes; usually limited as to time when it may be expended. One of the prime responsibilities of the Legislature is this power to appropriate moneys.

Appropriation bill
A bill that gives legal authority to spend or obligate moneys from the state treasury for the purpose or purposes specified in the bill.

Bicameral legislature
A legislative body, like Hawaii's state legislature, which has two houses.

A two-year period. This term is used to describe the two-year term of the Legislature that begins in an odd-numbered year and ends in an even-numbered year. With respect to the State budget, the fiscal biennium begins on July 1 of an odd- numbered year and ends on June 30 of an odd-numbered year.

The spending plan developed by the Governor consisting of estimates of proposed expenditures for a given fiscal year or biennium and the proposed means of financing the expenditures.

By request
A phrase (or its initials "br") used when a legislator introduces a bill or resolution as a courtesy to an executive agency or private organization or person who requests sponsorship of the proposed measure, but does not necessarily endorse the measure.

An agenda or list of business awaiting possible action by each chamber.

Carried-over bill
A bill pending at the final adjournment of a regular session in an odd-numbered year which is still alive for consideration in the next regular session.

Conference of members of a legislative group to decide on policies or strategies; most commonly, a "party caucus" is for members of one or another political party.

The meeting place for the membership of either house of the legislature where official business by the entire membership is conducted.

Companion bill
A bill identical in wording introduced in both houses. Administration bills, for example.

Consent calendar
A calendar on which bills considered to be noncontroversial are placed for an expedited voting procedure. The House of Representatives uses a "modified consent calendar" whereby the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders earlier record the votes of their caucus members for a series of noncontroversial bills and announce those votes when the vote is taken on the floor specifically naming only those members casting no votes.

Cut-off dates
Deadlines set by a legislative body for specified action such as bill introduction, committee action, or passage of bills on third or final reading.

The placement of a bill on the Clerk's desk to be in position for third or final reading.

Division of the house
A method of voting where legislators will rise to signify their vote.

An amended version of a bill or resolution. A draft may be indicated next to the bill number as S.D. 1, H.D. 2, C.D. 1, meaning that the bill was amended once by the Senate, twice by the House, and once by a conference committee.

Effective date
The date a bill, once passed, becomes law. Unless a different date is specified, bills become law when approved.

Enacting clause
The opening clause required in all bills by the Hawaii Constitution which formally expresses the legislative sanction. The clause reads: "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Hawaii".

End of the calendar
The placement of an item at the end of the agenda or "Order of the Day". This usually occurs when passage of a measure seems uncertain.

The final preparation of the bill in its final form. The term literally means to write or transcribe in a large clear, hand; however, "engrossment" in modern times is accomplished by retyping the measure or reproducing it by some other mechanical means.

The final legislative action on a bill, unless the measure is considered subsequent to a veto by the Governor. The term originally signified the writing of the bill on the official parchment roll containing the acts of the Legislature. Although this process is no longer implemented, the term represents the final form of the bill which has been engrossed.

Fiscal year
For accounting purposes, the period of financial operations at the end of which the State determines its financial condition and closes its books. In Hawaii, this period is from July 1 to June 30.

The chamber area in which the members of either house sit to consider official legislative action.

Floor amendment
An amendment offered by a member of either house in chambers when a bill or resolution is being considered for official legislative action.

Forty-eight-hour rule
The constitutional requirement (Hawaii Const. art. III, ß15) that printed copies of the bill in the form to be passed be made available to members at least forty-eight hours prior to its passage on third or final reading.

Grandfather clause
A provision exempting persons or other entities already engaged in an activity from rules or legislation affecting that activity. Grandfather clauses sometimes are added to legislation to avoid antagonizing groups with established interests in the activities affected.

Hawaii Revised Statutes
The codified laws of the State of Hawaii.

Hearing, public
A meeting of a committee of the legislature where an issue or proposed legislation is considered and opportunity for the public to express their opinions regarding such issue or proposed legislation is afforded.

Held in committee
Term used to describe a bill or resolution that has not been reported out of a committee, usually when it appears that the committee will not report the bill out and allow it to move on in the legislative process.

The procedure by which members of the general public may propose a statute, constitutional amendment, or ordinance.

The period between the adjournment of a regular session sine die to the convening of the next regular session.

The official act of submittal of a proposed bill or resolution signed by the legislator who offers it for consideration by the Legislature which is in session.

Joint committee
A committee composed of a specified number of members of both houses.

The official record of proceedings of a legislative body.

Term used by a legislator during roll call to signify that the legislator is undecided and that the Clerk should recall the legislator's name at the end of the roll call list. In the Senate, if a member responds "kanalua" or remains silent the second time the member's name is called, the vote is recorded as "aye". In the House, a member responding "kanalua" or remaining silent three times will be recorded as voting "aye".

A person or organization seeking to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. Originally the term referred to persons frequenting the lobbies or corridors of legislative chambers in order to speak with lawmakers.

Managers, conference
Legislators who are appointed by the presiding officers of their respective houses to resolve the differences between the final versions of the two houses on a particular legislative measure.

A bill or resolution which is officially introduced in the Legislature for consideration.

Order of the Day
The agenda of the daily order of business used by each house.

Pork barrel
Term used to describe appropriations made by the Legislature which are specifically for projects in the home districts of legislators and not necessarily based on the programmed budget developed by the executive branch.

A clause in a bill that sets out specific exceptions to the general law.

Prior concurrence
The requirement that, where there is more than one committee referral, a secondary committee must obtain the concurrence of the committee of first referral before making any substantive changes to the measure.

The number of members in a legislative body or committee which must be present to conduct official business.

The bill drafting format employed by the Hawaii Legislature using brackets, underscoring, and prefatory language to specify the changes to a particular law being proposed by the bill.

The stages of the legislative process requiring official floor action on a bill.

Term used to describe the process of determining the boundaries for the senatorial and representative districts from which state legislators are to be elected.

The action a house of the Legislature may take to remove a bill from a committee which has been in that committee for twenty days for consideration on the floor by the whole house. A recall action requires a one-third vote of the membership of the house.

The action whereby a measure is sent back to the committee which reported it out for further consideration.

The action whereby a house requests the return of a measure sent to the other house or to the Governor, but not yet enacted into law, for the purpose of reconsidering the action taken on that measure.

The principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection.

The assignment, by the presiding officer, of a measure to a committee or committees for consideration.

The reconsideration, by the presiding officer, of a measure referred to a committee and reassignment to a different committee or committees.

Reporting out
The submission of a committee report to the members of a house by a committee stating its findings and recommendations for official action on a measure by the house.

A legislative measure, which does not have the effect of law, but is used by the Legislature to express its sentiments, request particular action, state its policy, and provide direction.

The period of time during which the Legislature meets to conduct official business in chambers. The term is used to describe both the entire sixty-day period of a regular session or the daily meetings in chamber during a regular session.

Session Laws of Hawaii
The annual publication of all laws enacted by the Legislature for a particular year.

Short-form bill
A very brief bill which states, in general terms, the purpose to be accomplished by the bill. Short-form bills are used when time does not permit drafting the full bill or as "vehicles" for ideas which arise after the bill cut-off date.

Sine die
The final adjournment of the Legislature for session without fixing a date for reconvening.

Sunset law
Another name for the Hawaii Regulatory Licensing Reform Act, the law which provides for the repeal of regulatory boards, commissions, and programs on certain dates and for their evaluation by the Legislative Auditor prior to the repeal date.

Timetable, legislative
A calendar, usually set by the presiding officers of each house, containing important deadlines for the introduction and movement of bills and resolutions through the session.

The Governor's rejection of a bill passed by the Legislature.

Veto Message
A statement submitted by the Governor to the Legislature explaining the reasons for the veto of a bill.