by Julie Pelegrin
With the 2013 legislative session starting in less than two weeks, we thought it might be time to review some of the ins and outs of bill sponsoring with a few frequently asked bill-sponsor questions:
Can another member add my name as a sponsor on his or her bill without my permission?
No. Your name will not appear on a bill unless the OLLS has received your permission to be added as a joint prime sponsor or an additional sponsor or as the opposite house prime sponsor. The procedure for getting your permission is called “sponsor verification.” If the sponsor of a bill or a lobbyist tells the OLLS that you will sponsor the bill, you will most likely receive a call, an e-mail, or a personal visit from a member of the OLLS staff stating that the OLLS is trying to “verify” you as a sponsor on Member A’s bill. You are then free to say yes or no. Or, after you tell Member A or the lobbyist that you will be a sponsor on the bill, you can call or email the OLLS to verify that you will be a sponsor. After we confirm your sponsorship with Member A, we will add your name to the bill. But we must hear directly from you.
You may ask to see a copy of the bill before you agree to become a sponsor. The OLLS will need permission from Member A to give you a copy. If you can’t decide whether to become a sponsor, you should probably talk directly with Member A.
Can another member add his or her name to my bill without my permission?
No. The OLLS will not include another legislator as a joint prime sponsor, an additional sponsor, or a second-house prime sponsor on your bill unless we have your permission. Prior to introduction of your bill, it’s unlikely that another member will know about your bill, so this issue doesn’t arise very often. However, a lobbyist or an aide may share your bill draft with another legislator, and that legislator may call the OLLS to add his or her name as a joint prime sponsor, an additional sponsor, or a second-house prime sponsor on your bill. We will not add that legislator’s name to your bill without first contacting you and confirming that you have agreed to have that legislator sponsor your bill.
Naturally, other legislators may add their names as co-sponsors on your bill, without your permission, when your bill is considered on third reading.
Do I need a second-house prime sponsor when my bill is introduced?
No, you don’t need a second-house prime sponsor when your bill is introduced. You must, however, have a second-house prime sponsor before your bill can pass on third reading in the house in which you serve. So, before your bill is heard on third reading, talk with a member of the opposite house about being the second-house prime sponsor on your bill. Once someone agrees to be the second-house prime sponsor of your bill, talk to the Chief Clerk of the House if you’re a representative, or to the Secretary of the Senate if you’re a senator, about the form you need to fill out. After you submit the completed form to the front desk of the house in which you serve, the staff will make sure that the second-house prime sponsor’s name appears on the reengrossed version of your bill when it is introduced in the second house.
After my bill is delivered to the House or the Senate, how do I add sponsors?
After you approve your bill draft for introduction, the OLLS will deliver it to the front desk of the House or the Senate or the OLLS will deliver it to the sergeants who will give the bill to you. However, the OLLS must deliver your first bill to the front desk before session starts, because that bill must be introduced on the first day of session. The Office cannot deliver your first bill to you. If you want to include additional sponsors on your first bill before it is introduced, you must notify the OLLS, and the OLLS must be able to verify each sponsor, before the Office delivers your bill to the front desk; you cannot use the process explained below to add sponsors to your first bill.
Please do not contact the OLLS to add sponsors after your bill has been delivered to the front desk or to you. Once a bill is delivered, the House or Senate staff will use the process explained below to add sponsors to the bill.
If the sergeants deliver the bill to you, you will receive a copy of your bill stapled to a heavier sheet of green paper (if you’re a representative) or buff paper (if you’re a senator). This is called a “bill back”. Also attached to the bill back are a sheet of paper with the name of each senator and one with the name of each representative. If you would like a representative or senator to sign on as a sponsor of your bill, ask that person to sign the attached paper next to his or her name. Please do not separate the copy of your bill from the bill back and the sponsor sheets. If you would like additional copies of your bill to share with potential sponsors, your drafter will be happy to provide them.
After you turn the bill back in to the front desk, the front desk staff, before sending the bill to the printer, will review the sponsor sheets attached to the bill back and add each person who has signed as a sponsor of your bill. These sponsor names will appear on the introduced version of the bill. Neither the House nor the Senate can add sponsors after your bill is sent to the printer.
If you want to designate your second-house prime sponsor after your bill is delivered upstairs, you must sign a form that formally designates the second-house prime sponsor before your bill passes on third reading. The form is available from the Chief Clerk of the House, for representatives, or the Secretary of the Senate, for senators. If you sign the form and turn it in to the front desk with your bill back or before your bill goes to the printer, the front desk staff will add the second-house prime sponsor immediately, and his or her name will appear on the introduced version of your bill.