Public Policy FAQs

How does a bill become law? 
The short version: Once a bill is introduced in either the House or the Senate (either in Congress or Annapolis), the bill is assigned to a committee, who analyzes the bill's proposals, conducts hearings when proponents and opponents can testify, then votes on whether to recommend the bill for passage by the full house. If the committee votes to approve the bill, then the full house votes on it. If the committee votes down a bill, it almost never proceeds to the full house for a vote. The process is then repeated in the other house. If the second house also approves it, the bills are reconciled to confirm their contents are identical. For a complete review of the process in Maryland, go to here

What is a legislative session?  
Maryland's General Assembly is in session for 90 days per year, from mid-January through mid-April. During this period, bills are introduced, assigned to a committee for review and hearings, and eventually voted on. More information about the General Assembly is available here  Congress is in session on an irregular schedule thru much of the year, with extended breaks in the summer and around major holidays.  

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