Glossary of Legislative Terms
Word Definition
act An act is a bill passed by both houses and signed by the Governor.
adjourn To adjourn is to conclude a day’s session or committee meeting.
agenda An agenda is a notice posted to inform the public of the items to be considered in a meeting.
amendment An amendment, if approved, changes a bill.
Assembly The Assembly is one of the two chambers of our legislature whose members are elected every two years.
bicameral A bicameral legislature is made of two houses. In Nevada we have the Assembly and the Senate.
biennial Biennial means something occurs every two years. The Nevada legislature meets in odd-numbered years.
bill A bill is a draft of a proposed law or a change in a current law.
body All Assembly members or Senate members meeting as a group are referred to as the body.
budget The budget is the estimate of the money collected and the plan for money to be spent to carry out programs and support the operations of the three branches of state government.
caucus A caucus is an organized group of people with a common purpose or function.
chamber The chamber is also known as “the floor.” It is the room in which the whole Assembly or the whole Senate meets.
Chief Clerk The Chief Clerk is elected by the members of the Assembly to serve as chief administrative officer and parliamentarian of the Assembly.
committee The presiding officer of a house appoints members to a standing committee to hear bills and testimony and to make recommendation for action to the whole body of members.
concur To concur is to agree to an amendment which has been adopted by the other house.
constituent A constituent is a resident in the district of a legislator and is therefore represented by that member.
Constitution The written document of fundamental law and basic principles of the state which establishes the powers and duties of the government.
Daily File The Daily File is the list of bills awaiting action by the Assembly or the Senate.
first reading When a bill is introduced, a number is assigned to it, its title is read before the full house, and the bill is referred to a committee.
Floor Leader A member chosen by the majority or minority party as their spokesperson is the Floor Leader. The Speaker is the spokesperson for the Assembly majority.
gallery The chamber includes a large seating area for visitors and it is referred to as the gallery.
hearing A hearing is a meeting of a legislative committee during which witnesses provide testimony on bills under consideration by the committee. Anyone may attend and/or testify at a hearing.
interim The period from the adjournment sine die of one regular legislative session to the convening of the next regular session is the interim.
journal The journal is the official record of the proceedings in the houses. A journal is produced after each floor session and combined into one complete journal for each legislative session.
Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB) The LCB is a nonpartisan, centralized agency that serves both houses and all legislators. It consists of fiscal, legal, research, and administrative advisors.
legislator An elected member of a legislature is an Assemblyman, Assemblywoman, or Senator.
lobbyist A representative of a special interest who attends sessions to support or oppose legislation (lobby) is a lobbyist.
majority party The political party having the most members elected in the Assembly or the Senate is the majority party.
minority party The political party not having the majority of members elected in the Assembly or the Senate is the minority party.
second reading After being reported out of committee, a bill is read by title a second time before the full house. Amendments are adopted or rejected at this time.
Sergeant at Arms The person in each house who is responsible for security, maintaining decorum in the chamber, and coordinating the safety of members and visiting dignitaries.
session The period of 120 days during which the legislature meets is referred to as a regular session.
sine die Sine die is a Latin phrase meaning “without day.” Adjournment sine die marks the end of a legislative session, since it does not set a time for reconvening.
Speaker The presiding officer of the Assembly elected by members of the Assembly is the Speaker of the Assembly. He or she is called Mr. Speaker or Madam Speaker.
special session A meeting of the Legislature can be called by the governor or by a petition of legislators. The business of the session is restricted to specific subjects for which the session was called.
third reading Third reading is the point when a bill is debated by the full house and a final vote may be taken.
title The title is the official summary of the contents of a bill or resolution.
veto The governor has the constitutional power to disapprove of a bill thus preventing it from becoming law. The veto may be overturned with a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.