The Legislature’s committees do the work on bills, but the chamber floors are where bills pass or fail. Passing a bill involves a series of technical steps required by the Oregon Constitution.
Bills must be “read,” meaning literally read from the dais. “First reading” signifies the introduction of the bill to the Legislature. The reading clerk will read aloud on the chamber floor the measure number and title. The president of the Senate or the speaker of the House then refers the bill to a committee.
After work in a committee, a bill is “second read.” The second reading notifies the public that the bill has completed its process in committee and is back on the floor for a vote. The reading clerk will again read aloud the measure number and title.
A bill’s “third reading” allows a vote on the bill. The reading clerk will again read aloud the measure number and title and is also required to read the entire text of the bill, commonly referred to as a “full read.” The vote is cast, and the bill moves through the legislative process as appropriate.
The Oregon Constitution requires a full read, but it is time consuming. Generally, it takes the reading clerk two to three minutes to read each page of a bill. Bills can be more than 100 pages, taking hours. With consent of two-thirds of the members of either chamber (20 of 30 in the Senate or 40 of 60 in the House) the bill can be read “by title only,” just like the first and second readings.
Another procedural option, with consent for bills that need to be moved quickly, is to second and third read on the same day. Generally, this is used narrowly for consensus bills, like agency budget bills, or to finish bills toward the end of a legislative session.
Upon first reading, the bill is considered "introduced." If a committee adopts an amendment(s) with its recommendation of do pass, before the bill can proceed to its next destination, it will detour to the legislative counsel office, where the text of the bill will be updated to include the adopted amendment(s). The bill is then considered "engrossed. After the bill has passed both houses, it is signed by the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, and the Chief Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate, and is now considered enrolled.
The enrolled bill is then presented to the Governor for action. The Governor has five days to take action, if the Legislature is still in session, or 30 days, if the Legislature is adjourned. The Governor may sign the bill into law, allow a bill to become law without his/her signature, or may decide to veto the bill. If signed, the bill becomes law on the date indicated in the bill or on January 1. If not signed, the bill becomes law on Jan. 1. The signed enrolled bill, is then filed with the Secretary of State, who assigns it an Oregon Laws chapter number and the Legislative Counsel’s office then insert the text of the new law into the existing Oregon Revised Statutes.
You can find bills using OLIS and see where they are in the process. Click on the “Overview” tab for a bill page and expand the “Measure History” section. This section provides a complete chronicle of the path a bill has taken through the legislative process. All action taken on a bill is denoted with the icon. Expanding this view will provide the action taken, the carrier of a bill and each legislator’s vote.