Have you ever had an idea that you thought should become a law? Ideas for laws come in many ways. Members of Congress present ideas for new laws. Ordinary citizens may call their senator or representative with an idea. Special interest groups send delegates to talk to our nation's leaders. Even the president has ideas for laws.
In order for an idea to begin the process of becoming a law, a member of Congress must sponsor it. Once this happens, the idea becomes a bill. Bills can start their journey in either part of Congress. Let's follow a bill that begins in the House of Representatives.
Once a bill is written, the sponsor introduces it to the clerk of the House or places the bill in a box called the "hopper". Here, the clerk i gives the bill a special number beginning with the letters H.R. (House of Representatives). Then, the bill is printed and sent to all members of the House of Representatives.
At this point, the Speaker of the House sends the bill to a committee. The committee studies the bill to decide if it is a good idea or not. They often hold hearings to listen to why a bill should be a law. After the hearings, they may make changes to a bill, send it on for a vote, or kill the bill.
Now the House Rules Committee gets the bill. They put it on a calendar for a vote. When the bill's turn comes, it goes to the floor of the House of Representatives. Here the representatives have a chance to talk about the bill, and vote to pass it or not. If a bill is passed in the House, it is sent to the Senate. In the Senate first, First, the bill is again...