BY TAYLOR BENNETT, POLICY COORDINATOR, AND DWAYNE BARTLEY, APC VISTA, THE HUB
Each year, legislative rules dictate deadlines which help keep legislators on track to finish the work that needs to be done in as close to 60 days as possible. There are three deadlines in particular that can change the flow of the process at the Capitol: The 35th Day, the 41st Day, and the 50th Day. Here’s what those deadlines are and what they do for the legislative process:
The 35th Day- Last day to introduce bills in the House of Delegates
- Tuesday, February 12 was the 35th day of the 2019 session. That means that there will be no more bills introduced in the House this year. There are a few exceptions. We might still see bills which originate in committee or House or Senate resolutions or concurrent resolutions, but there will be no more bills introduced on the floor.
The 41st Day- Last day to introduce bills in the Senate
- Senate rules allow bills to be introduced until the 41st day of each year’s session. This year, that’s Monday, February 18. The same exceptions to bills originating in committee, House or Senate resolutions, or concurrent resolutions still apply.
Both of these deadlines cause a scramble to make sure that everything is introduced in time. That means that a veritable flood of new House bills were introduced on Monday and Tuesday this week, and that we can expect to see a sharp increase in the number of Senate bills introduced as Monday’s deadline looms.
These first two deadlines are set so that bills can meet the next major deadline- Crossover Day.
50th day of the session- Crossover Day
- By this day, this year it will be February 27th, all bills must be passed out of their house of origin. Simply put, if a bill was introduced in the Senate, it must have gone through committee, have been read on the floor 3 times, and have been voted on by the full Senate. Likewise for the House. If a bill passes, it can move on for consideration or “cross over” to the other chamber. If it hasn’t been voted on, the bill is not allowed to continue to be considered this session.
It’s important for all of us to keep a discerning eye on the legislative process as these notable session deadlines approach each year. The flurry of activity surrounding the large number of bills introduced can cause challenges if newly introduced bills go unnoticed. And challenges can arise for citizens who wish to provide feedback to their legislators as bills are rushed through passage.