Making and enacting laws is one of the Legislature’s most important responsibilities. In order to become a law, bills must be passed by a majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by the President.
A bill can be introduced (‘ sponsored’) by one or more members of the legislature or by the Executive. The bill has to be introduced to the Legislature for consideration. While most bills can originate in either Chamber, bills regarding revenue always begin in the House of Representatives.
For the first reading, the bill is read aloud to ensure that all legislators are aware of its content and overall purpose.
After this first reading the plenary of the Chamber where the bill is introduced decides to which committee(s) the bill is sent for examination. After this, the committee(s) send the bill to the "floor" (the full House or Senate) for consideration by the whole body. Usually a report is presented to the plenary by the committee(s) with the results of the examination.
Once a bill is sent back to the plenary it will be read for a second time. Every member has the right to present his or her thoughts and opinions, to argue and attempt to convince the other members.
When the legislators are satisfied that there has been sufficient debate, they call for a vote on the bill. If the bill is adopted, the adopted version of the bill will be sent to the other Chamber, which follows the same procedure.
However the members may decide to send the bill back to the committee to make further amendments.
The amended bill is then read for a third time in the Plenary and members are called on to vote in favor of or against it.
If both Chambers have approved the bill, the bill is sent to the President. The president has three options:
1. The President approves the bill.
2. The President does not approve the bill, s/he must return it to its House of origin stating reasons for her/his objections within 20 days. The legislature may override this veto with a vote of 2/3 of each Chamber.
3. The President does not sign or return it to the Legislature: within 20 days it becomes law.
Once a bill has either been signed by the President or vetoed but passed by a 2/3 majority of each chamber, the bill will be published into handbill.