• Act - A legislative measure passed by both chambers and signed by the governor/president, passed over veto, or allowed to become effective without signature.
  • Adjournment - To end a legislative day. Recess does not end a legislative day. (See Sine Die Adjournment.)
  • Amendment - A proposal to change or an actual change to a bill, a motion, an act, or the Constitution.
  • Apportionment - Allocation of legislative seats by law. The U.S. and Kansas Constitutions require members of the U.S. House and most other elected officials represent the same number of people, based on the federal census taken every 10 years.
  • Appropriation - A provision by a legislature of funds for a specific purpose.
  • Authorization - An act approving a project, program or activity, outlining its purposes and procedures, assigning authority for its administration and fixing maximum amounts to be expended upon it. Usually refers to federal programs.
  • Bill - Draft of a proposed new law, or amendments or repeal of existing laws.
  • Bill Numbering - A process of numbering bills as they are introduced from the beginning of each session. Bills bear the designation of the chamber in which they originate. Bills in the U.S. House of Representatives are designated as HR # and Senate bills as SB #. In Kansas, House bills are HB # and Senate bills are SB #.
  • Budget Authority - Congressional appropriations which allow federal agencies to incur obligations to spend or lend money.
  • Budget Deficit - The amount by which government budget outlays exceed budget receipts for a given fiscal year. The state of Kansas is prohibited from operating under a deficit budget.
  • Calendar - A list of bills or resolutions to be considered by a committee in the House or the Senate. In Kansas, it is printed daily to show all scheduled committee and chamber action.
  • Call - An order to compel the attendance of members who may be absent from the chambers until all have voted.
  • Carry-over Bills - In Kansas, bills introduced in odd-numbered years retain their numbers and may be acted on during the following session.
  • Categorical Programs - Grant-in-aid programs designed to deal with specific problems, implement narrowly defined policies and priorities, or benefit certain classes of recipients.
  • Caucus - The meeting of members of a political party in a legislative body, usually to decide policy or select members to fill positions.  Also refers to the group itself.
  • Chamber - Either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
  • Cloture - A parliamentary device for halting debate and bringing an issue to a vote; used in the U.S. Senate to end filibusters.
  • Committee of the Whole - On the federal level, business is expedited in the 435-member House of Representatives when it resolves itself to the "Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union." Rules are relaxed and a quorum is easier to obtain. A minimum of 100 members can comprise the committee. In Kansas, bills are usually debated, amended and recommended for passage in "Committee of the Whole," then voted on by the full membership of either chamber the next day without debate. However, bills may be considered "emergencied to final action, subject to amendment, debate and roll call."
  • Concurrent Resolution - A resolution that must pass both the House and the Senate, but does not require the president's/governor's signature, nor does it have the force of law.
  • Conference Committee - A committee composed of senators and representatives named to work out differences between same-subject bills passed by both chambers. Conference Committee recommendations (or "reports") cannot be amended.
  • Congress and Session - A Congress extends over two calendar years and each Congress is divided into two sessions.
  • Congressional Record - The printed, daily account of debates, votes and comments in the House and Senate published by the Government Printing Office.
  • Consent Calendar - Non-controversial bills which are voted upon without debate or amendment. If members object, these bills are placed on the regular calendar.
  • Continuing Resolution - A resolution enacted by Congress and signed by the president that allows federal agencies to continue operations until their regular appropriations bills are enacted.
  • Dead or Killed Bill - A bill which cannot be acted upon again that session. However, due to amendments and rule changes, few bills can really be considered "dead."
  • Discretionary Programs - Grant-in-aid programs for which competitive applications are made directly to federal agencies, bypassing the state.
  • Division Vote - The votes of members are counted but individual votes are not recorded. In Kansas, committee votes are not recorded.
  • Emergencied to Final Action - Allows a bill or resolution to be voted on for final action on the same day it was first considered.
  • Enacting Clause - The initial language in a bill saying "Be it enacted." To kill a bill, a member will move to "strike the enacting clause."
  • Ending Balance - The balance in the state treasury on the last day of a fiscal year.
  • Engrossed Bill - The final copy of a bill that has passed the House or the Senate. The text amended by floor action is incorporated into the bill.
  • Enrolled Bill - The final copy of a bill that has been passed in identical form by both the House and the Senate.
  • Entitlement Programs - Programs for which individuals receive federal assistance by virtue of meeting specific eligibility requirements such as age and economic need, i.e., social security, school lunch.
  • Federal Register - Daily periodical which is the official notice board of the federal government. Publishes proposed and final regulations, grants announcements, etc.
  • Filibuster - Talking and debating a bill in an effort to change it or kill it. Easier in the U.S. Senate than the U.S. House because of the Senate's more relaxed rules controlling debate.
  • Final Action - When the House or Senate takes a final vote on a bill. At this point a bill must have a constitutional majority to pass.
  • Fiscal Year - Financial year of the government which does not coincide with the calendar year. (October 1 - September 30 for Federal; July 1 - June 30 for Kansas).
  • Fiscal Note - A cost estimate for a particular bill prepared by the state budget division.
  • Floor Action - Taken by a quorum of the full membership of either chamber on a bill or other measure as reported by a committee.
  • Forward Funding - Appropriation of federal funds for use in a fiscal year one or more years later than the year in which the appropriation was enacted to allow the recipients additional time for programming, i.e., Chapter One and vocational education.
  • Full Funding - Appropriations for programs which equal the maximum amount specified in the authorizing legislation.
  • General Orders - The section of the calendar listing bills to be taken up by the entire Kansas House or Senate. Occurs when either house sits as committee of the whole. Ordinarily debate and amendment take place at this point. A bill needs only the approval of a majority of those present and voting to move on to final action.
  • Germane - Pertaining to the subject matter of the measure at hand.
  • Hopper - Box where proposed federal bills are placed.
  • House of Origin - The chamber where a bill or resolution was introduced.
  • Joint Committee - A committee composed of a specified number of representatives and senators for special policy studies.
  • Joint Resolution - A federal resolution that must pass both the House and Senate, receive the president's signature, and has the force of law if so approved.
  • Journal - The printed, daily account of debates, votes and comments of the Kansas House and Senate.
  • Kansas Register - Published weekly by the secretary of state to report official state business.
  • Law - A bill that has been signed by the president/governor or passed over veto.
  • Markup - The section-by-section review and revision of a bill by committee members.
  • Motion - Proposed action by a legislative body.
  • Omnibus Reconciliation - In Kansas, usually the final appropriation bill passed. It makes adjustments if needed to maintain a legally required ending balance.
  • Omnibus Appropriation - A bill passed at the end of the Kansas session to finance new programs passed by the Legislature and any other "clean-up" matters.
  • Override of Veto - A process whereby a legislative body annuls, or overrides, a veto of a bill. It requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
  • Pair - An agreement by two members of Congress to be recorded on opposite sides of an issue when one or both will be absent when the votes are not counted but they make their positions known.
  • Pocket Veto - An action of the president in withholding approval of a bill after Congress has adjourned either for the year or for a specified period.
  • Point of Order - An objection by a member that a rule is being violated.
  • Quorum - The number of members of a legislative body who must be present before business may be conducted.
  • Recess - A temporary halt in the proceedings of a chamber.
  • Reference of Bills (Reference to Committee) - After a bill is introduced, its title is read and it is assigned to a committee.
  • Regulation - Rule made by an executive officer charged with the administration of a law for the guidance of his/her agency and the persons and organizations affected.
  • Report - A committee's written record of its actions and views on a bill. The committee "reports" its findings to the House or Senate, which must vote to adopt the report for committee amendments to be effective.
  • Resolution - A formal statement of a decision or opinion by the House or Senate or both. A simple resolution is made by one chamber and generally deals with that chamber's rules or prerogatives.
  • Rider - A provision added to a bill so it may "ride" to approval on the strength of the bill. Generally, riders are placed on the appropriations bills.
  • Roll Call Vote - The vote of each member is recorded. Roll call votes are required on final action. They may be required for other votes if a sufficient number of members request.
  • Sergeant-at-Arms - Legislative officer who maintains order and controls access to the chamber at the direction of the presiding officer.
  • Sine Die Adjournment - To adjourn without setting a time to meet again. It denotes the end of a legislative session.
  • Special, Select or Ad Hoc Committees - These committees are created for a specific investigation oversight function, are more apt to die and have functions routed to a standing committee.
  • Substitute Bill - When a committee recommends major amendments to a bill, it may propose a new or substitute bill with the same number.
  • Substitute Motion - A proposed alternative to the primary motion. If a substitute motion passes, the primary motion is not considered. If it fails, the body returns to the primary motion. Legislative rules do not always allow a substitute motion.
  • Supplemental Appropriations - Considered after passage of regular (annual) appropriations bills. They are acted on before the end of the fiscal year to which they apply.
  • Suspend the Rules - A motion intended to quickly bring a bill to a vote.
  • Table a Bill - A motion to, in effect, put a bill aside and thereby remove it from consideration or kill it.
  • Teller Vote - A vote in the U.S. House whereby members' votes are counted "for" or "against" as they file past tellers in the front of the chamber.  A count is taken but there is no official record of how each representative voted.
  • Unanimous Consent - A time-saving procedure for non-controversial measures whereby measures are adopted  without a vote. A member simply says "I ask unanimous consent" for ____ (and states his proposal).
  • Union Calendar - The federal calendar on which money bills are placed in order of date reported from committees.
  • Veto - Right of the President of the United States and the Governor of Kansas to return a bill or joint resolution unsigned to the House of origin in 10 days of its delivery after passage, thereby preventing it from becoming law unless it can be re-passed over veto. The 10-day period excludes Sundays and holidays.
  • Voice Vote - Members answer "yes" or "no" in unison. The presiding officer decides the result. How a member voted is not recorded.
  • Yield - The request, "Will the representative/senator yield?" is an expression used to seek permission from a member already speaking on the floor to be recognized.