Where did the interim go? The 2022 Legislative Session will convene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, but, as those who follow the legislature know, bill drafting starts long before that date. Legislators have been submitting bill requests for the upcoming session since the end of the last session, and interim committees have been meeting and working with drafters since August on committee bill requests. So much is already going on that it might be easy to forget that the first bill request deadline is Wednesday, December 1, 2021. The December deadline is for a legislator’s first three bill requests. After December 1, a legislator may submit up to only two additional bill requests and only to meet the five bill requests allowed by rule.*
Once a legislator has bill requests in the system, the legislator must choose one of those requests to be a “prefile” bill. The “prefile” bill must be drafted and filed with the House or the Senate for introduction by the Friday before the session convening date. For the upcoming session, the “prefile” bill filing deadline is Friday, January 7, 2022. Generally, the bill deadlines require legislators to have completed, with the help of OLLS drafters, the bulk of their bill drafting well before the first day of the legislative session.
What all legislators need to know about requesting bills [Joint Rule 24 (b)(1)(A)]:
- The Joint Rules allow each legislator five bill requests each session. These five bill requests are in addition to any appropriation, committee-approved, or sunset bill requests that a legislator may choose to carry. (Legislators are not required to carry five bills.)
- To reach the five-bill request limit within the bill request deadlines, legislators must submit at least three bill requests to the OLLS by the December 1 deadline. Legislators must submit the last two requests (assuming the legislator is under the five-request limit) by January 18, 2022.
- If a legislator submits fewer than three requests on or before the December 1 deadline, the legislator forfeits the unsubmitted bill requests that were due by that date.* (Legislators need not carry five bills.)
- The first bill request deadline is less than a month away, and it may feel like there is still plenty of time to request those bills. But if a legislator waits until December 1 to submit the first three bill requests, the legislator will need to provide sufficient drafting information with the request so that the drafters can draft all three of the bills in a timely manner. The legislator will also need to quickly decide which of these requests will become a “prefile” bill, which needs to be filed for introduction by January 7, 2022.
Legislators: If you have not yet submitted a bill request, you are encouraged to submit at least one bill request as soon as possible. Bill requests may address any subject and do not need to be completely conceptualized. The bill drafter can help you figure out how to word your bill, and the bill drafting process allows for potential issues or problems to rise to the surface, making it easier for you to decide whether the idea is “workable.” If a request is no longer needed or wanted, you can withdraw and replace it with a new request, as long as that decision is communicated to the OLLS before the December 1 deadline. By submitting bill requests and draft information as quickly as possible, legislators give drafters more time to work on their bill drafts, make it easier to determine if there are duplicate bill requests, and work out any drafting kinks before the first day of session.
Legislators can submit more than three requests by the December 1 deadline. By doing so, a legislator may have the flexibility to withdraw and replace at least one request after the December deadline without losing a request. If a legislator submits only three requests by December 1 and later withdraws one of them, the legislator forfeits the withdrawn bill request. The rules allow a legislator to submit only two bill requests after the December deadline.* If a legislator submits four bill requests by December 1 and later withdraws one, the legislator is left with three bill requests that met the early request deadline. The legislator can still submit the two requests that are allowed after the early bill request deadline — for a total of five bill requests.
Upcoming deadlines: Too many to remember and too important to forget. Bill request and bill introduction deadlines are listed below. Deadlines that apply only to House bills are in green, deadlines that apply only to Senate bills are in red, and deadlines that apply to both the House and Senate are in blue. Click here for a link to House and Senate bill drafting, finalization, and introduction deadlines. The listed OLLS internal deadlines are designed to allow sufficient time for editing and review in order to provide a higher-quality work product while still assuring that each bill meets the deadline. Paper copies of these tables are available in the OLLS Front Office, Room 091 of the Capitol.
December 1. The last day for legislators to request their first three (or early) bill requests. After December 1, legislators are only allowed two additional bill requests (only if they are under the five-bill limit).
Upcoming filing and introduction deadlines:*
January 7. Deadline to file prefile bills with House and Senate front desks.
January 14. Deadline to file Senate early bills with the Senate front desk.
January 18. Deadline to request last two bills (regular bills) if a legislator is under the five-bill limit.
January 18. Deadline to file House early bills with the House front desk.
January 28. Deadline to file Senate regular bills with the Senate front desk.
February 2. Deadline to file House regular bills with the House front desk.
* A legislator may seek permission from the House or Senate Committee on Delayed Bills, whichever is appropriate, to submit additional bill requests or to waive a bill request deadline.