Bill Introduction: A senator brings his or her idea for a new law to a bill drafter, who works with the senator to transform the idea into the proper legal form for a bill. Unlike some states, bills introduced in Nebraska may contain only one subject. Bills must be introduced during the first 10 days of the legislative session, which begins each January. In order to introduce a bill, a senator files it with the Clerk of the Legislature. The clerk reads the title of the bill into the record, assigns it a number and prints copies of it for public and legislative use. The Legislative Fiscal Office prepares budget statements estimating the anticipated change in state or political subdivision expenses or revenue under the provisions of each bill. This statement is called a fiscal note. In addition, the fiscal office prepares appropriations bills (“A” bills), which accompany bills that have a fiscal impact.
Bill Referral: The nine member Reference Committee assigns each bill to the appropriate standing committee.
Public Hearing: Unlike some states, the standing committees of the Nebraska Legislature conduct a public hearing for every bill introduced.
Committee Action/Inaction: A standing committee may act to (i) advance a bill to General File (with or without committee amendments), (ii) indefinitely postpone (kill) the bill, or (iii) take no action and hold the bill in committee.
General File (Round One): Committee amendments and other amendments, if any, are considered prior to a vote to advance to Enrollment and Review Initial. A bill on General File has three chances, or attempts, to advance before it is indefinitely postponed.
Enrollment and Review Initial (E&R): Bills advanced from General File move to E&R Initial, a stage of the legislative process in which all amendments adopted are engrossed into the bill. The bill is reviewed for technical flaws. If any such flaws exist, E&R amendments are filed to be adopted on Select File.
Select File (Round Two): Enrollment and Review amendments, if any, are considered prior to consideration of other amendments, if any, and then the bill is considered for advancement to Enrollment and Review Final. A bill on Select File has two chances, or attempts, to advance before it is indefinitely postponed.
Enrollment and Review Final (E&R): Bills advanced from Select File move to E&R Final, a stage of the legislative process in which amendments adopted are engrossed into the bill. The bill is reviewed for technical flaws and a Final Reading version of the bill is printed.
Final Reading (Round Three): Prior to a final vote, every bill is read in its entirety to the legislative body. As in all stages of the process, a bill must receive a majority vote (25) to pass on Final Reading, or two-thirds vote (33) to pass if the bill contains an emergency clause.
Consideration by Governor: If a bill passes on Final Reading, it is sent to the governor for consideration. The governor may sign or veto the bill within five days, excluding Sundays. If a bill is not signed or vetoed within five days, it automatically becomes law. Bills with emergency clauses become law one day after signed. Bills without such clauses become law on the stated effective date in the bill. If no such effective date exists, the bill becomes effective three months after the end of the session. The Legislature may override vetoed bills with a three-fifths (30) vote. Constitutional amendments approved by the Legislature do not require the governor’s signature.
Codification: If the bill becomes law, it is codified in the Nebraska Revised Statutes