Glossary of Legislative Terms

Absent – Not present in chamber.

Absent with leave – Not present at session with permission for absence.

Act – A measure passed by both chambers and approved by the governor, or which has become effective without his or her signature.

Adjournment – Termination of a legislative day.

Adjournment sine die – Final termination of the second regular session of each two-year general assembly, constitutional veto session, or a special legislative session.

Advice and consent – Senate’s approval of gubernatorial appointments.


Committee – “SCA” or “HCA” – Changes proposed to the original bill by a committee.

Conference – “CCA” – An amendment to a bill recommended by a conference committee.

Floor – “SA” or “HA” – Changes offered as a senate or house amendment to a bill by a legislator during floor debate.

Appropriation – Funds allocated for various departments of government set aside for specific use by action of the general assembly.

Bill – Draft of proposed law presented to the legislature by a member of the general assembly for consideration.

Bill, consent – A bill considered, under the rules, to be noncontroversial by a committee. In the senate, a consent bill can only be amended in committee.

Bill, revision – A bill approved by the committee on legislative research to remove outdated or expired sections of law.

Bill history – Record of all the action on any given piece of legislation.

Bill summary – Brief summary of the content and proposed changes to law contained in a bill.


Consent – A special calendar for non-controversial bills.

Formal/perfection – List of bills recommended do pass by a committee which are ready for action by the entire body. Bills must be taken up in the order presented on the calendar.

Informal/perfection – List of bills previously taken up for consideration, but not finally acted on. Bills may be taken up in any order.

Third reading – The final reading of and voting on a bill before it is reported to the other chamber.

Caucus – A meeting of the members of a political party; the membership of one particular political party; an approved group of members sharing a particular area of interest.


Conference – A temporary group of five members from each chamber, selected to resolve differences in a bill as passed by each chamber.

Interim – A temporary group of members of the same legislative body authorized to function during the period between regular sessions.

Joint – Group comprised of members of both chambers to meet and discuss issues.

Select – A temporary committee of the same legislative body set up to deal with a specific issue.

Standing – A committee of continuous existence to which bills are referred for consideration by subject pursuant to chamber rules.

Statutory – A committee that functions pursuant to authority delegated by statute.

Concurrence – Term used when one chamber agrees to a proposal of the other.

Concurrent resolution – See resolutions.

Conference committee report (CCR) – Report from a conference committee detailing recommendations on a bill.

Conference committee substitute (CCS) – Bill drafted by the conference committee.

Co-sponsor – One or more persons, in addition to the primary sponsor, proposing any bill or resolution.

Constitutional majority – One more than half of the members of a deliberative body.

Division vote – Requested by two or more senators that members stand to be counted, and is sometimes used when the outcome of a voice vote is unclear.

Effective date – The date on which provisions of a bill become operative.

Emergency clause (EC) – A statement in the bill indicating the act shall take effect after signature of the governor and prior to the normal effective date (August 28). Requires a separate approval vote of two-thirds majority. Does not affect the passage of the bill.

Enacting clause – The clause at the beginning of the bill which lists, usually in “Section A”, the sections repealed and reenacted.

Enrolled – The final copy of a bill passed by both chambers, commonly referred to as “Truly Agreed To and Finally Passed”.

Exceeding the differences – Introducing additional provisions in conference not previously in either chamber’s version of a bill but which are still within the single subject of the legislation.

Excused from voting – Permission given by the body to allow a member, for special reasons, to refrain from voting on a particular measure.

Executive session – A meeting of a committee for the sole purpose of voting on bills or measures referred to the committee.

First read – Bill offered, read by title, and ordered printed. Pursuant to the constitution, bill readings must occur on different legislative days.

Filibuster – Prolonged discussion of a bill to delay legislative action.

Fiscal note – An estimated amount of increase or decrease in revenue or expenditures and the present and future fiscal implications of pending legislation.

Fiscal year – Budget accounting period. In Missouri, July 1 through June 30.

Floor – The area of the chamber reserved for members and officers of the body.

Gallery – The area of the chamber open to the general public.

General assembly – Collective term referring to both the senate and house.

Hearing – Scheduled committee meeting at which public testimony may be taken.

House – The lower chamber in a bicameral legislature, in Missouri commonly known as the House of Representatives.

Interim – The interval between legislative sessions; whether regular, extraordinary, or veto.

Introduction – The formal presentation of a legislative proposal for consideration.

Joint resolution – See Resolution, joint.

Joint rules – Rules that govern the procedures to be followed in all areas of joint activity between the senate and house.

Journal – The official record of the action taken and proceedings of the respective chambers prepared for each legislative day.

Legislative district – The area of the state represented by a legislator distinguished by geographical boundaries and given a numerical designation.

Lobbyist – A person who, acting in the course of his or her employment or for a fee, represents himself, herself, or others in opposing or furthering legislation.

Majority floor leader – The person responsible for scheduling and managing the day-to-day floor debate, elected by the members of the majority party.

Message – Communication from one chamber to the other, or from the governor, concerning legislative or gubernatorial action on bills, resolutions, or executive appointments.

Minority floor leader – The leader of the minority party, elected by the members of the minority party.

Motion – A statement which may be verbal or in writing which urges a particular action by a legislative body.

Officers – Certain legislative staff elected by the members of the senate. Includes the president pro tempore, secretary of the senate, sergeant-at-arms, and doorkeeper. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the senate pursuant to the constitution.

Override – To pass a bill after the governor has vetoed it; requires two-thirds majority vote in each chamber.

Out of order – Not proper under parliamentary rules and procedures.

Parliamentarian – By senate rule, the president pro tempore, who shall decide all points of order.

Pending – A substitute bill, amendment or motion offered but not acted on.

Perfected/engrossed – An official copy of a bill as passed by one chamber incorporating all adopted changes.

Point of order – Calling attention to a potential breach of order or rules.

Prefiled bill – Bill or joint resolution filed between the period of July 1 and the commencement of regular session.

President – Pursuant to the Missouri constitution, the lieutenant governor; however in practice the term is used to refer to the presiding officer of the senate.

President pro tempore – Member elected by the entire body to manage procedural functions and rule on parliamentary matters.

Privileged motions – Motions of parliamentary procedure that are granted precedence over ordinary business pursuant to chamber rules.

Quorum – The minimum number of members present which is necessary to transact business.

Recede – Withdraw from a chamber’s position on a matter.

Reconsideration – A timely motion made by a member voting on the prevailing side which allows a previous vote to be annulled and the matter to again be placed before the body.

Referendum clause – Statutory measure submitted by the general assembly to the voters for their approval or rejection.

Referred – To send a matter to a committee.

Remonstrance – Formal statement of protest.

Regular session – See session, regular.

Re-referred – To reassign a bill from one committee to a different committee.

Resolution – A formal expression of the will, wish, or direction of one or both chambers.

Joint resolution – Form used in submitting a proposed constitutional amendment to a vote of the people. It requires the same treatment as a bill in its passage through both chambers and has the force of law, but it does not require the governor’s signature.

Concurrent resolution – Expresses the opinion or will of both chambers and is adopted by both. Is used for such purposes as memorializing congress on particular matters, ratifying amendments to the United States constitution, to express recommendations and condolences and requesting action of state officials and departments. Depending on the intended purpose, a concurrent resolution may carry the full force and effect of law.

Roll Call – A recorded vote by a member used to establish a quorum or to reflect his or her position on a motion.

Rules – Rules are used to regulate principles and methods of procedure.

Administrative rules – Rules developed by a state agency or department to implement programs and statutes enacted by the general assembly.

Joint rules – Rules that govern the procedures to be followed in all areas of joint activity between the senate and house.

Standing rules – Adopted by each chamber for the duration of the session to govern matters affecting each respective chamber.

Second reading – When the bill title is read a second time and the bill is referred to a committee. Pursuant to the constitution, bill readings must occur on different legislative days.

Senate – The upper chamber in Missouri’s bicameral legislature.

Session – The period during which the legislature meets pursuant to the Missouri constitution.

Regular session – The annual session.

Daily session – Each day’s meeting.

Joint session – The meeting of both chambers together.

Extraordinary session (also called special session) – Called by and limited to matters specified by the governor. The general assembly may call itself into special session upon a filing with the secretary of state of a petition signed by three-fourths of the members of the senate and three-fourths of the members of the house.

Veto session – Session, not to exceed ten days in length, for the sole purpose of considering bills vetoed by the governor.

Sponsor – Legislator who is the primary author of a bill, amendment, or resolution.

Statutes – Compilation of all laws presently in effect, prepared in volumes by the committee on legislative research.


Committee – “SCS” or “HCS” – A bill recommended by a senate or house committee in lieu of the bill referred.

Floor – “SS” – A bill offered on the floor of the senate in lieu of the bill being debated.

Table – To lay aside for future discussion, usually with a view to postponing or shelving the matter indefinitely.

Third reading – The measure is “read at length” before a final vote is taken. Pursuant to the constitution, bill readings must occur on different legislative days.

Title – A concise statement of affected sections and the subject of a bill.

Truly agreed to and finally passed – A bill containing identical language passed by both chambers of the general assembly.

Unanimous consent – Consent of the entire body to suspend the rules for a specific purpose.

Veto – The written rejection by the governor of a bill passed by the general assembly.