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How a Bill becomes a Law in Ohio

The Great Seal of The State of Ohio

The Great Seal of The State of Ohio was provided by the Constitution in 1803. A rising sun with thirteen (13) rays symbolize the original thirteen (13) colonies. In addition, the sun rising over the mountains denotes Ohio as the first state west of the Alleghenies. A sheaf of wheat stands in the foreground as a symbol of agriculture and bounty. Standing next to the wheat is a bundle of seventeen (17) arrows representing Ohio's Native Americans and also symbolizing Ohio as the 17th state to enter the Union.

How Bills become Laws in Ohio

Introduction of Bills - First Consideration 

All proposed changes to Ohio laws are called bills until enacted by both houses - Senate and House - of the General Assembly.  Any member of the Senate or the House of Representatives may introduce bills.  Upon introduction, a bill is given a number and read for the first time by its title. This reading constitutes the 'first consideration' of the bill.

Referred and Committee Hearings - Second Consideration

The bill is then sent to the Reference Committee in the originating chamber - either the Senate or the House of Representatives, where it is then referred to a Standing Committee for a hearing at a time set by the Standing Committee's chairperson.  Referral by the Reference Committee constitutes the 'second consideration' of the bill.

Committee hearings are an important step in the legislative process.  It is within the committee where the fate of a bill is usually determined.  In committee, a bill may be passed as introduced, amended, tabled for later consideration or killed.  The public may give testimony - for or against - on bills during these open committee hearings.

The Floor Vote - Third Consideration

After a bill has been reported favorably by a Standing Committee, the Rules Committee of that chamber - either Senate or House of Representatives - designates which bills are to be considered for passage and on what date.  At this time, the bills are debated on the floor and voted upon by all members of the chamber of origin.  The floor vote constitutes the 'third consideration.'

A 'yes' vote by a majority of the membership of each chamber is required to pass a typical bill.  However, there are certain appropriation measures and emergency legislation that require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the legislature.

Following the passage of a bill in the chamber of origin, the bill follows the same general procedure in the opposite chamber.  If amendments are inserted in the other chamber, those amendments must be agreed upon in the chamber of origin before the final enactment occurs.  If agreement cannot be reached, a Conference Committee composed of members of each chamber is appointed to resolve the differences.

A Bill becomes an Act = Law

After a bill has been passed by each house, it is then enrolled in an Act form, signed by the presiding officers of each chamber and presented to the Governor for consideration.  If the Governor approves of the legislation, it is signed and filed with the Secretary of State.  An Act normally becomes effective ninety (90) days after filing.  However, for emergency bills, tax levies and appropriation bills, the effective date is immediate.  A bill may also specifically provide for an effective date later than ninety (90) days after filing.


If the Governor rejects the bill, s/he sends it back to the chamber of origin with a veto message. At this point, three-fifths (3/5) of the members of each chamber may vote to override the Governor's veto.  If both chambers override the Governor's veto, the bill becomes law in the same manner as if the Governor had originally approved it.

If the Governor simply refuses to sign the bill for a period of ten (10) days from the time it was presented to him/her for his/her signature, the bill automatically becomes law.