Common Terms of the Legislature


A bill passed by both houses and signed by the Governor


Any step of parliamentary procedure upon a proposed law or resolution


The ending of a legislative day; regular adjournment sets the date for the next meeting

Ad Valorem Tax ReductionClick here for full definition.


To alter formally by modification, deletion, or addition


A division of the state into districts from which members of the Legislature are elected


A legislative grant of money for a specific purpose


An employee of the Senate or the House

Authorized Expenditures Act

An omnibus act authorizing and limiting, except under certain conditions, the expenditure of special or dedicated revenues for government departments and programs

Bicameral legislature

A two-house legislature


A draft of a proposed law presented for enactment


A certificate of indebtedness issued by the government in return for money it has borrowed


Estimate of the receipts and expenditures needed to carry out programs for a fiscal period

By request

Introduction of a measure by a legislator on behalf of a private individual or group


List or docket of bills awaiting action, entered in order reported

Calendar day

Each consecutive day on the calendar for the duration of the legislative session, whether or not the houses convene


Conference of legislative party members to decide on party policies and action, or a meeting of the legislators from a particular county or group of counties

Closing budgets

The process whereby final action is taken by the money committees on individual budgets

Conference committee

A joint meeting of a committee on conference from each of the two houses whose function is to arrive at a single version of a bill that has passed both houses in different form. Click here for more.

Consent calendar

A list of bills, of a non-controversial nature, which is voted on as a single roll call vote instead of roll calls on each bill on the list


The written instrument agreed upon by the people of the United States, or of a particular state, as the absolute rule of action and decision for the government


The preparation of a bill or resolution for third reading including the incorporation of all amendments adopted and proofreading


The final printing of a bill or resolution after enactment by both houses

Executive Budget

Program of expected revenues and proposed expenditures comparing current, future, and past completed years for existing programs, and projecting revenues and expenditures of new programs for future years; The Executive Budget is proposed by the Governor and the Budget Administrator of the Budget Division of the Department of Administration

Ex officio

Holding two offices; holding another office by virtue of or because of the holding of the first office


To delete or remove completely

First Reading

Introduction of a bill in either house of the Legislature by giving it a number and reading it before the full house by title before it is referred by the presiding officer to the appropriate committee

Fiscal note

Analysis required by statute to be prepared by an executive agency estimating revenue or expenditure changes that would be entailed by the passage of a proposed bill. The Fiscal Analysis Division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau prepares this estimate to accompany any bill that reduces the revenue or increases the expenditures of a local government


Recognition by the Chair for the purpose of discussion, debate, or remarks while a house is in session

General File

The third reading file of bills and joint resolutions due for consideration in the houses

General law

A law of general, or potentially general, application throughout the state

Grandfather clause

A provision in a bill making it inapplicable to activities or personnel involved prior to the enactment of new legislation


A session of a legislative committee at which witnesses present testimony on matters under consideration by the committee

High growth formulaClick here for full definition.


A cumulative daily list of actions on all measures in the houses


A formal accusation against a public official by the House; After the House has impeached, the Senate tries the official


A procedure that enables a specified number of voters to propose, by petition, a law or constitutional amendment, and to secure its submission to the electorate for approval


The period from the adjournment sine die of one regular legislative session to the convening of the next regular session


The presentation of a bill or resolution for consideration by a house


Record of daily proceedings in the houses


Bill passed by both houses and approved by the Governor, or, if vetoed by the Governor, the veto overridden by a two-thirds vote of each house


Includes the presiding officers of both houses (President of the Senate and President pro Tempore; Speaker of the House and Speaker pro Tempore) and the floor leaders of both houses (Majority and Minority Leaders, Assistant Majority Leaders, and Assistant Minority Leaders)

Legislative day

Each day that the houses actually convene; These do not necessarily coincide in number with calendar days

Legislative rules

The methods of procedure determined by the Legislature at the beginning of a session


A representative of a special interest who attends sessions to oppose or support the enactment of legislation

Majority Floor Leader

A member of either house chosen by the members of the majority party in that house as their spokesman

Maintenance of EffortRequires that an entity continue to “do its fair share” in providing funding to an agency under its jurisdiction in order to be eligible for financial assistance for that agency from another entity. Click here for more.

Minority Floor Leader

A member of either house chosen by the members of the minority party in that house as their spokesman

Motion to ReconsiderA motion that places the bill back on the calendar where it cannot move forward until the chamber again takes it up on the floor for additional debate. This provides an opportunity for members to change their votes on the bill. Click here for more.


The introductory part of a bill or resolution that states the reasons for and intent of the measure

President of the Senate

Lieutenant Governor as presiding officer of the Senate

President pro Tempore

A Senator chosen by the Senate to preside in the absence of the President

Presiding officer

The person in each house who chairs the conduct of business before the body and guides and directs the proceedings of the body


The number of members of a house or of a committee who must be present for the body to conduct official business


Requesting the return of a measure from the Governor or the other house by a resolution


Withdraw from an amendment in which the other house refused to concur


Send a measure to a committee for study and consideration


The principle or practice of submitting a law to popular vote after the filing of a petition expressing the wish of the people to vote on such law

Regular Session

Period during which the Mississippi Legislature meets annually


A one-house resolution expresses facts, principles, opinions, and purposes of one house .A concurrent resolution expresses facts, principles, opinions, and purposes of the two houses and authorizes the creation of joint committees. A joint resolution memorializes federal officials to engage in an action, proposes amendments to the Mississippi Constitution, or ratifies amendments to theUnited States Constitution

Roll call

Recording of the presence of members or a tally by individual votes on a bill or joint resolution

Second Reading

When a bill, after it has been reported from committee, is read for the second time before the full house; Committee amendments or amendments from the floor are adopted or rejected by simple majority vote of the members present and voting

Second Reading File

File of bills for second reading and consideration of amendments in the house.


One of the chambers in a bicameral legislature


Length of legislative service, Seniority is often used to assign committee positions and political rank

Sine Die

Final adjournment of a legislative session (See “Adjournment.”) Adjournment sine die literally means “adjournment without a day”; it marks the end of the legislative session, since it does not set a time for reconvening

Speaker of the House

The presiding officer of the House of Representatives

Speaker pro Tempore

A member of the House chosen by the House to preside in the absence of the Speaker

Special law

A law of local or limited application

Special Session

A meeting of the Legislature convened on the call of the Governor and restricted to the subjects stated in the Governor’s call


The legislator(s), legislative committee, or entity requesting that a bill or resolution be drafted

Standing committee

A committee of either the Senate or House of Representatives that is created by legislative rule and is responsible for considering legislation in a certain subject area


Bill passed by both houses and approved by the Governor, or, if vetoed by the Governor, the veto overridden by a two-thirds vote of each house

Strike-allAmendment that strikes, or removes, all of the language in a bill and replaces it with new language. Click here for more


A brief and unofficial resume of the contents of a bill or resolution

Third Reading

When the bill, reprinted with any adopted amendments, is debated by the full house on another day after the second reading. It may be passed, rejected, or further amended, in which case final action on the newly amended version is taken on a later day. If the bill is passed, it is sent to the other house; it is sent to the Governor if passed in identical form by both houses


An official summary of the contents of a bill or resolution


Governor’s formal disapproval of a bill or joint resolution

Modified from original version on the Nevada Legislature Website

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