Posted by: Avery Roberts on Feb 10, 2021

The Idaho Legislature is in its fifth week of business. Bills are beginning to arrive in the Governor's office, the last step in the process of becoming law.

The process of creating law in the legislature contains six approval hurdles. The first, a bill draft is presented as an RS (routing slip) to a House or Senate committee asking for the draft to be printed as a bill. In the brief print hearing, the draft sponsor speaks to the bill language but members of the public are not able to testify and bill language is not publicly available. If members of the committee agree for the bill to be printed, it is then assigned a bill number, is assigned to a germane committee, and the bill is available to the public for review.  A list of 2021 Legislation by Bill Number can be viewed here.

The assigned committee will typically have a public hearing on the bill.  Lobbyists, members of the public, elected officials, and government agencies are able to testify on the merits of the bill.  The committee has several options when dealing with the bill such as holding the bill in committee, returning the bill to the sponsor, sending the bill to the amending order for edits, and most frequently, sending the bill to the floor (of the House or Senate whichever body originated the bill) with a "do pass recommendation”. 

Once the bill is out of the committee, the full body of the House or Senate will debate and vote on the merits of the bill. If the bill receives a majority vote in favor, the bill is transmitted across the rotunda to the other body. 
The bill is subsequently assigned to a germane committee where it may receive a hearing where public testimony may again be heard. If the committee sends it to the full body, they will hear the bill and vote on the merits. If a bill receives a majority vote in the second body, the bill is transmitted for the signature of the Governor. 

The Governor has the opportunity to review the legislation and may sign the bill into law, allow the bill to become law without signature, or veto the bill. If the Governor vetoes a bill, it returns to the House and Senate where the body has an opportunity to override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote of both bodies.

A more detailed explanation of how a bill becomes law in the Idaho Legislature can be found here and a more rockin' explanation of legislative processes can be seen here
We need your help all along the way to let the legislators and the Governor know if a bill will make good law or bad law. The legislators rely heavily on you, as practitioners of the law, to help them understand the bills and suggest ways to improve the legislation. 

As always, we appreciate your willingness to be a part of this work. Please give us a call at (208) 345-1890 or send an email to if you have any questions.