Glossary of Legislative Terms
Click on a letter below to view terms that begin with that letter.
"A" Bill - see Appropriation Bill.
Act - the proper term for a bill after it is enacted into law. Also, a term used to refer to a group of laws addressing a particular subject, such as the Nebraska Affordable Housing Act.
Agenda - a daily order of legislative business set by the Speaker.
Amendment available in the Bill Room - an amendment printed separately from the Legislative Journal that is available in the Bill Room (Room 1104).
Appropriation Bill ("A" Bill) - a bill to appropriate funds to finance another bill bearing the same number.
Attorney General's Opinion - a written analysis of a question of law prepared by the attorney general for the governor, the head of an executive department or any state senator.
Call of the House - a procedure used to compel attendance of unexcused senators in the chamber. Any senator may move for a call of the house, and a majority of senators voting is required to place the house under call.
Chair - the presiding officer. The lieutenant governor or speaker normally serves as chair, but other senators also may preside. The senator presiding is said to be "in the chair."
Cloture - a parliamentary action to cease debate on a bill and vote immediately on its advancement.
Committee Statement - a statement indicating whether a committee voted to advance or indefinitely postpone a particular bill. Includes the roll call vote of committee members, a summary of the bill and any proposed committee amendments, and a list of who testified at the bill's hearing.
Constitutional Amendment Resolution - a proposal to amend the state constitution, ratify or reject an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or petition Congress about amending the U.S. Constitution. State CA resolutions have the suffix "CA" by the resolution number, and they must be approved by Nebraska voters as well as the Legislature.
Consent Calendar - a portion of the agenda in which relatively noncontroversial bills are considered and quickly advanced to the next legislative stage. Usually, a bill on consent calendar can be debated for no more than 15 minutes.
"E" Clause - see Emergency Clause.
E & R - see Enrollment and Review.
Enrollment and Review (E & R) - the process of incorporating adopted amendments into a bill, reviewing the bill for technical and grammatical accuracy, and making recommendations relative to arrangement, phraseology and correlation.
Enrollment and Review for Engrossment - the Enrollment and Review process that a bill undergoes after it is advanced from Select File. During this stage, the bill is engrossed and reprinted for Final Reading.
Executive Board of the Legislative Council - a nine-member special committee that oversees legislative services, personnel and other internal affairs of the Legislature. The Executive Board also serves as the Reference Committee.
Final Reading - the third and last stage at which a bill is considered by the full Legislature. The clerk reads the entire bill aloud, unless final reading is waived, and senators vote without debate on whether to submit the bill to the governor.
Fiscal Note - a statement prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Office estimating the effect a bill would have on state and/or local expenditures and revenue.
Floor - the area of the legislative chamber where the senators sit. When a committee advances a bill "to the floor," that means the bill is being sent to the full Legislature for consideration.
Germane - relevant to the specific subject of the bill being considered. Any amendment that is not germane is out of order.
History - see Legislative History.
House Under Call - the term used when all unexcused senators are required to be in their seats in the chamber and unauthorized personnel must leave the floor.
Initiative - the power of the people, through the petition process, to enact laws and adopt constitutional amendments independently of the Legislature.
Interim - the period between regular legislative sessions.
Introducer's Statement of Intent - see Statement of Intent.
IPP - see Indefinitely Postpone.
Journal - see Legislative Journal.
Laid Over - term used to describe a motion or bill on which action has been postponed.
Legislative Bill (LB) - a proposal to create, change or delete one or more laws. See also Act.
Legislative Council - a council consisting of all members of the Legislature. The Legislative Council examines information relating to state government and the general welfare of the state and recommends legislation.
Legislative History - the committee and floor debate records for any bill. A history includes transcripts of the bill's hearing and all floor debate, the introducer's statement of intent and the committee statement.
Legislative Journal - official record of legislative floor action, including all motions, the number of yeas and nays on each vote, how each senator voted on record votes, etc.
Legislative Resolution (LR) - a proposal to make a formal expression of opinion, intent or recognition; amend the state or federal constitution; or authorize a study of an issue during the interim. See also Constitutional Amendment Resolution, Interim Study Resolution.
Line-Item Veto - the power of the governor to make specific reductions in any part of a budget bill passed by the Legislature. Also see veto.
Machine Vote - a vote taken by electronic voting system. The voting board shows how each senator voted, but only vote totals are entered in the Legislative Journal.
Major Proposal - a bill or constitutional amendment resolution that the speaker designates as important enough for scheduling priority. Each session, up to five bills may be chosen as major proposals, all of which must be senator priority bills and must get the approval of two-thirds of the Executive Board.
President of the Legislature - the lieutenant governor. While senators address whomever is in the chair as Mr. or Madame President, the lieutenant governor alone holds that official title.
Presiding Officer - the president or senator currently presiding over legislative proceedings.
Priority Bill - a bill that has priority status and generally is considered ahead of other bills in debate. Each senator may select one priority bill, each committee may select two priority bills, and the speaker may select up to 25 priority bills.
Record Vote - a vote on which a record is kept of how each senator voted. The vote is taken by electronic voting system, and the senators' names and corresponding votes are then printed in the Legislative Journal.
Referendum - the power of the people, through the petition process, to repeal or amend any act or part of an act of the Legislature.
Regular Session - the annual legislative session that begins the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Regular sessions generally last 90 legislative days in odd-numbered years and 60 legislative days in even-numbered years.
Resolution - see Legislative Resolution.
Revisor Bill - a bill, prepared by the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, proposing a technical correction or the repeal of an obsolete statute.
Roll Call Vote - a vote during which the senators vote one at a time as the clerk reads their names. Senators cast their votes verbally, and their names and corresponding votes are printed in the Legislative Journal if the house is under call.
Select Committee - a permanent committee with a subject-matter jurisdiction related to the administration of the Legislature.
Session - a period of time, usually a number of days, during which the Legislature meets and transacts business. See Regular Session, Special Session.
Session Laws - compilation of all laws and constitutional amendment resolutions passed in a session.
Sine Die - without setting a future date for reconvening. When the Legislature adjourns sine die, the legislative session is finished for the year.
Speaker of the Legislature - the officer of the Legislature, elected from among the senators, who prepares the daily agenda and the session calendar and who presides in the absence of the lieutenant governor.
Special Session - a limited legislative session called for a specific purpose by the governor or two-thirds (33 members) of the Legislature.
Statement of Intent - a statement, prepared by the sponsor of a bill, that briefly describes the bill and the reasons why it is being introduced.
Study Resolution - see Interim Study Resolution.
Summary Sheet - The Summary Sheet is compiled from the daily Legislative Journal at the end of each legislative day. It includes a description of bill and resolution activity that day. It is available the following morning.
Veto - the power of the governor to reject bills passed by the Legislature. The governor has five days, excluding Sundays, to veto a bill. The Legislature has a chance to override the veto. Also see Line Item Veto.
Veto Override - the power of the Legislature to pass a bill over the governor's veto. A veto override requires the approval of three-fifths (30 members) of the Legislature.
Voice Vote - a vote in which senators cast their votes orally and no totals are recorded.