The Legislative Process

Legislative Session


The Louisiana Legislature is composed of two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Annually, the Louisiana Legislature convenes for what is called a legislative session. A legislative session is a period of time in which the legislature meets for the purpose of lawmaking.

In Louisiana, there are five types of legislative sessions: Organizational, Emergency, Extraordinary (Special), Regular, and Veto.

  • An Organizational Session is primarily for the election of officers and organization of both houses.
  • An Emergency Session may be convened in the event of a public emergency such as a natural disaster.
  • An Extraordinary or Special Session may be convened for any number of reasons by the governor or officers of the legislature. For example, in 2008 there were two extraordinary sessions, one related to ethics and one related to taxes.
  • A Regular Session is the most common type and takes place annually for the purposes of lawmaking and allocating funds. There are two types of regular sessions:
  • General 
    -  Convene in even-numbered years at noon the second Monday in March
    -  Last no more than 60 legislative days
    -  No new taxes, tax increases, exemptions, exclusions, deductions, credits, rebates, incentives, or abatements may be introduced or enacted.
  • Fiscal
    -  Convene in odd-numbered years at noon the second Monday in April
    -  Last no more than 45 legislative days
    -  No matters shall be introduced or considered unless they relate to fiscal (money) matters or local or special laws
  • A Veto Session is primarily for the purpose of overriding a governor’s veto of a bill. Veto sessions are extremely rare, with the last session in Louisiana taking place 39 years ago. Veto sessions may convene if the majority of the members of both chambers declare in writing that a veto session is necessary. Should a veto session occur, it would convene on the fortieth day following adjournment of the most recent session and shall not exceed five calendar days.

Legislative Instruments


Bill Types

A bill is a legislative instrument proposed by a legislator(s) to change or enact a new law or to repeal existing law (Act), or to propose changes or additions to the constitution (joint resolutions). There are eleven different bill types:

  1. House Bill - A bill introduced into the House of Representatives.
  2. House Concurrent Resolution - A resolution introduced in the House to be considered by both houses that can be used to express legislative intent, authorize certain suits, adopt or change joint rules of the legislature, memorialize Congress, and request or direct a state agency to take a specified action.
  3. House Concurrent Study Request - A request from the House of Representatives for a study by a standing committee of each house of the legislature.
  4. House Resolution - A resolution passed by only the House of Representatives that expresses an opinion or intent, but does not have the force of law.
  5. House Study Request - A request for a study by a standing committee of the House of Representatives.
  6. Senate Bill - A bill introduced into the Senate.
  7. Senate Concurrent Resolution - A resolution introduced in the Senate to be considered by both houses that can be used to express legislative intent, authorize certain suits, adopt or change joint rules of the legislature, memorialize Congress, and request or direct a state agency to take a specified action.
  8. Senate Concurrent Study Request - A request from the Senate for a study by a standing committee of each house of the legislature.
  9. Senate Resolution - A resolution passed by only the Senate that expresses an opinion or intent, but does not have the force of law.
  10. Senate Study Request  - A request for a study by a standing committee of the Senate.
  11. Act - A bill that has been finally passed by the House and Senate, enrolled, signed by the legislative presiding officers, signed by the governor (or allowed to become law without his signature), and assigned an Act number by the secretary of state.


There are various rules as to how many bills legislators can introduce, when the bills can be introduced and the subject matter of the bills. Once a bill is filed and the legislative session begins, the bill begins the process of becoming a law.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Retrieved from www.legis.la.gov


Bill Status

As bills go through the legislative process, their status changes. Because of this, you will notice different versions of the bill.

  • Original - The bill in its original form.
  • Engrossed - The original bill with committee amendments incorporated.
  • Reengrossed - The engrossed bill with floor amendments incorporated.
  • Enrolled - A bill in its final form, including all amendments adopted by both houses to be submitted to the governor for approval or veto.
  • Act - A bill that has been finally passed by the House and Senate, enrolled, signed by the legislative presiding officers, signed by the governor (or allowed to become law without his signature), and assigned an Act number by the secretary of state.

The Budget Process

Executive Budget

The Executive Budget is the governor’s financial and programmatic plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget process is a year-long process. Because the budget process is fluid, the information below is for informational purposes only.

August

Departments begin preliminary budget discussions. This usually takes place internally among agency heads and staff.

September 

The Division of Administration provides departments and agencies with budget request forms for the upcoming fiscal year.

November

Budget Requests due back to the Division of Administration.

December

Division of Administration reviews and makes changes to the request amounts and presents preliminary budget recommendations to departments and agencies. Agency appeals process begins. Executive Budget recommendation made to the governor.

January

Executive Budget is printed. Executive Budget due to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget 45 days prior to the start of the regular session.

February

Executive Budget presentation to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. General Appropriation Bill filed no later than fourteen days after submission of the executive budget. House Appropriations Committee hearings begin.

March

Legislative session begins

April

House Bill 1 to be heard in House Appropriations Committee and on the House Floor

May

House Bill 1 to be heard in Senate Finance Committee and Senate Floor. Conference committee if necessary.

June

Legislative session adjourns. Governor signs the bill with vetoes. Fiscal Year ends June 30.

July

Appropriation letters are mailed to departments. New fiscal year begins July 1.

General Appropriation Bill

The General Appropriation Bill (House Bill 1) is the legislative instrument used to appropriate the amounts specified in the executive budget excluding capital outlay and ancillary appropriations. Please note that there are other appropriation bills such as the Capital Outlay Appropriation Bill, Supplemental Appropriation Bill, Ancillary Appropriation Bill as well as others.

State Budget

The State Budget is the financial and programmatic plan for the state after all appropriation and revenue acts have been passed.

Tracking Legislation


Want to keep track of bills during session? Know when committee meetings are scheduled? Watch committee meetings online? Click here for our Navigating the World Wide Web:  A How-To Guide for Advocates.

Click here for What to Expect at a Legisltaive Committee Meetings.
Click here for How to Write/Email Your Legislator.
Click here for How to Write Your Story.
Click here for How to Provide Public Testimony

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