Connecticut Legislative History Guide

Legislative Process

Documentation of Legislative Intent

Sources

Bill Introduction

“Bills” include proposed bills, resolutions, governor’s bills, committee bills, raised bills, and proposed drafts. See Joint Rules 7 & 9, Rules of the General Assembly, in 2013 Legislative Guide.

Bill Title, Text, and Statement of Purpose

For discussions of bill text as a source of legislative intent, see Starkes v. U. of Conn., 270 Conn. 1, 850 A.2d 1013 (2004); Travelers Ins. Co. v. Pondi-Salik, 262 Conn. 746, 817 A.2d 663 (2004); Manchester Sand & Gravel Co. v. South Windsor, 203 Conn. 267, 524 A.2d 621 (1987).

First Reading

The bill is given a number and assigned to a committee. Bills originating in the Senate are numbered starting at 1; bills originating in the House begin numbering at 5,000. Not all bills are actually read aloud. See Joint Rules 8(b) & 16, in Rules of the General Assembly, in 2013 Legislative Guide.

Public Hearing in Committee

Unlike the United States Congress, all committees of Connecticut’s General Assembly are joint committees consisting of members of both the House and Senate. Not all bills receive a public hearing. see Rule 6, in Rules of the General Assembly, in 2013 Legislative Guide.

Sources

Submitted Testimony, 2005 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Committee Hearing Transcripts, 1988 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Submitted Testimony and Official Committee Hearing Transcripts, early 1900s - present: Connecticut State Library, Law and Legislative Reference Unit

Bill Is Reported by Committee

The committee decides whether to refer the bill to another committee, amend it, and/or give the bill a favorable or unfavorable report. The committee is not required to publish an actual report. Reporting of the bill constitutes its second reading. See Joint Rules 13-16, in Rules of the General Assembly, in 2013 Legislative Guide.

Bill Text & Joint Favorable Reports

Sources

Bill text, 1988 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Bill text, 1911 - present: Connecticut State Library, Law and Legislative Reference Unit

Bill text, pre-1911: State Library Archives, General Assembly records, RG002

Joint Favorable Reports, 2000-2014: Connecticut General Assembly website

Analysis of Legislation

Immediately after being reported favorably, the bill is submitted to the Legislative Commmissioners’ Office (LCO) for review. The LCO examines the bill for compliance with the state constitution, consistency with existing statutes, accuracy, cleanness and conciseness. The Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) looks at the bill’s financial impact and prepares a Fiscal Note. The Office of Legislative Research (OLR) writes a plain-language summary of the bill (Bill Analysis). The OLR might also be required to issue a Racial and Ethnic Impact Statement to accompany the bill file. The OFA and OLR reports are included in the file for the bill that is provided to each legislator prior to floor debate. See Joint Rule 13, in Rules of the General Assembly, in 2013 Legislative Guide.

Bill Analysis & Fiscal Analysis

Sources

Bill Analysis, 1990 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Fiscal Note, 1988 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Other OLR Reports, 1994 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Other OFA Reports, 2008 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

Floor Action

The bill first goes to the chamber from which it originated. The clerk of the House or Senate puts the bill on the calendar (a list of all bills each day that are awaiting action). On the third day after being placed on the calendar, the bill has its third reading and is ready for debate and a vote. After passing one house, the bill is transfered to the other chamber for debate and a vote. See Joint Rule 17, Senate Rules 24-27, House Rules 36-41, in 2013 Legislative Guide.

Session Transcripts

For discussion of floor debate as evidence of legislative intent, see Middlebury v. Dept. of Environmental Protection, 283  Conn. 156, 927 A.2d 793 (2007), Doe v. Marselle, 236 Conn. 845, 675 A.2d 835 (1996), Elections Rev. Comm. v. Freedom of Info. Commn. 219 Conn. 685, 595 A.2d 313 (1991), Manchester Sand & Gravel Co. v. South Windsor, 203 Conn. 267, 524 A.2d 621 (1987).

Sources

1988 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

1953 - present: Print transcripts available at the Connecticut State Library, Law and Legislative Reference Unit

1945 - 1953: Partial coverage from the Connecticut State Library, Law and Legislative Reference Unit

Pre-1945: Although formal transcripts are not necessarily available prior to 1945, you might find relevant supplementary information in the records State Library Archives, General Assembly records, RG002.

Engrossing

If a bill passes both chambers, it’s submitted to the LCO for engrossing. Engrossment is the final certification that the bill is correct and printed in its final form with all amendments incorporated. The bill is transmitted to the Secretary of State and upon receipt becomes a public act. The Secretary of State then presents it to the Governor for signature. 

Public Act

Sources

1988 - present: Connecticut General Assembly website

1672 - last year’s session: HeinOnline

Governor's Signature or Veto

A Public Act becomes law either when signed by the Governor or when the amount of time during which the Governor may sign or veto lapses. If the Governor receives the bill while the legislature is in session, he has five calendar days to sign it (not counting Sundays and holidays).  

Veto Packages

Sources

2000-2010, 2013: Connecticut General Assembly, Office of Legislative Research