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Bell Bulletin: How a Bill Becomes a Law

Dear Constituent,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you in the Virginia House of Delegates.

I want to share with you an update on the fourth week of legislative session this year by sharing with you the journey one of my bills took this week on its way to hopefully becoming a law.

HB 135 passed the House of Delegates today, but it's been through quite a journey already.



The first step a bill takes in becoming a law is a hearing in front of a subcommittee. First, I explained what HB 135 does. The bill requires EMS volunteers who are minors to go through a juvenile background check before starting their volunteer service.

Next, public comment is accepted from people in the audience. That can include citizens, representatives from organizations, and government agencies.

Then, I have one more chance to make the case for my bill. 

Last, the Subcommittee votes on whether to pass the bill or not. Luckily, HB 135 passed a Courts of Justice Subcommittee without one dissenting vote.




The next step is for the bill to be heard by the full Courts of Justice Committee. The same process occurs in committee as in subcommittee, although often with less public input. Committees trust their subcommittees to do good work in vetting bills and making sure that it's good policy for the Commonwealth.

Subcommittees and Committees can also make changes to bills, called amendments.

Again, HB 135 passed Committee uncontested, on an 18-0 vote.



House Floor

Then, a bill proceeds to a vote on the floor of the House of Delegates. The bill is read three times on the Floor.

The first reading takes no action on the bill. The second reading is when the debate on the bill occurs, and when the Delegates decide to pass the bill to its third reading, called engrossment. On the third reading, the bill is voted upon.

Today, HB 135 passed the house unanimously.




The same process, with committees and on the Senate floor, happens in the Senate.


I hope this helps you understand the work we do in the General Assembly on your behalf!


If you haven't gotten a chance yet to participate in my Constituent Survey for this session, please do so by following the link below:

Please participate in my 2018 constituent survey >>

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and feel free to reach out to my office anytime.


Delegate John J. Bell

Member, 87th District

Virginia House of Delegates