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Enactment of a Law

Final Passage

When all committee amendments and all Senators' floor amendments have been disposed of, the bill is ordered engrossed and read a third time, which step ends the amendatory process. The third reading is by title only. The question is then put upon passage of the bill, which requires a simple majority vote. If a resolution has a preamble, it may be agreed to, amended, or stricken out after the resolution has been adopted. The title to a bill is also acted upon after its passage; the title may be amended if amendments made to the bill necessitate such a change. At any time before its passage, a bill may be laid on the table or postponed indefinitely, either of which motions has the effect of killing the bill. Alternatively, a bill may be made a special order for a day certain, which requires a two-thirds vote; laid aside temporarily; recommitted to the committee which reported the bill; referred to a different committee; or displaced by taking up another bill by a majority vote.

Most bills are passed by a voice vote only, but where a doubt is raised in such a case, the Presiding Officer, or any Senator, before the result is announced, may request a division of the Senate to determine the question. Before the result of a voice or division vote has been announced, a roll-call vote may be had upon the demand of one-fifth of the Senators present, but at least 11--one fifth of the presumptive quorum of 51.

In the case of a yea-and-nay vote, any Senator who voted with the prevailing side or who did not vote may, on the same calendar day or on either of the next two days the Senate is actually in session, make a motion to reconsider the question. On a voice vote or division vote, however, any Senator may make the motion. If made before other business intervenes, it may be proceeded with and is debatable. It may be laid on the table without prejudice to the main question and is a final disposition of the motion. A majority vote determines questions of reconsideration. If the motion is agreed to, another vote may be taken on the question reconsidered; if disagreed to, the first decision of the Senate is affirmed. The making of such a motion is privileged but may not be made while another matter is pending before the Senate.

Only one motion to reconsider the same question is in order. Such a motion, under rule XIII, may be withdrawn by the mover by leave of the Senate, which may be granted by a majority vote or by unanimous consent. A bill cannot be transmitted to the House of Representatives while a motion to reconsider remains unacted upon.

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