November 19, 2017
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When does the regular legislative session begin and end?
Normally, the regular legislative session starts on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March for a period not to exceed 60 calendar days. To provide time for enactment and judicial review of redistricting plans before elections in 2012, the regular legislative session that year starts on January 10.

How often do the houses elect officers?
In November of each even-numbered year, the legislature convenes for the sole purpose of organizing each house. At this organization session, held fourteen days after the general election, members are sworn in, officers are elected, rules are adopted, and the committee appointment process is begun.

What are the different types and versions of bills?
Different types of bills include: Appropriations, Claim, General, Local, Memorial, Resolution, Reviser, and Trust Fund. Different versions of bills include: Committee Substitute, Engrossed, Enrolled, Proposed Committee Bill, and Proposed Committee Substitute. For more information see the Glossary of Legislative Terms.

How can I tell the difference between a House and a Senate bill?
House and Senate bills are numbered in serial order as they are filed. House bills receive odd numbers (1, 3, 5, …) and are prefixed by "H" or "HB"; Senate bills receive even numbers (2, 4, 6, ...) and are prefixed by "S" or "SB."

What does the C1, C2, C3, etc., mean on the end of a bill number in bill history?
"C1" denotes a committee substitute, which is a substitute bill proposed by committee for a bill considered and amended by that committee. Each committee to which a bill is referred may adopt a committee substitute for that bill. If the previous committee of reference adopted a committee substitute for the bill, the next committee may adopt a committee substitute for that committee substitute. Occasionally, there will be a committee substitute for a committee substitute for a committee substitute for a committee substitute for a bill (C4). A committee substitute may also combine multiple Senate bills.

What is the difference between an engrossed bill and an enrolled bill?
An engrossed bill is a bill which has been amended. A bill may be engrossed many times. An enrolled bill, which may or may not have been engrossed, is a bill that has passed both houses of the legislature in identical form and has been converted into an act for presentation to the Governor or Secretary of State.

What is a linked bill?
A bill that is contingent upon passage of another bill within that chamber is a linked bill. A trust fund bill, a bill providing a public records exemption, or an implementing bill may be a linked bill.

What are the meanings of "identical," "similar," and "compare" as they relate to the companion checking of bills?
A companion is a bill introduced in one house that is identical or similar to a bill introduced in the other house. Use of companion bills permits their concurrent analysis and deliberation by both houses. Companion bills which are identical word-for-word, including titles, are marked "identical" in bill history. However, Resolutions and Concurrent Resolutions are considered identical when the only difference is the word "House" or "Senate." Companion bills are marked "similar" in bill history if they are substantially similar in text or have substantial portions of text that are identical or largely the same. If one word is different, the bills are "similar." Companion bills with selected provisions that are similar in text are marked "compare" in bill history.

What does the bill action "in messages" mean?
"In messages" refers to the location of a bill passed by a chamber en route to or residing in the other chamber for consideration.

How often is bill information updated on flsenate.gov?
Bill information is continually updated on flsenate.gov.

How do I track a bill?
flsenate.gov makes it easy to track, or follow, a bill as it progresses through the legislative process. Every filed bill has a web page that offers current information about the bill and provides links to official documents associated with the bill. Go to the Session menu and select the desired chamber, session year, and bill number. The last action for that bill is displayed. For a more detailed history of the bill, click on the bill number.

Information includes bill number, bill type (trust fund, local, etc.), version (engrossed, enrolled), sponsors, companion status, subject, short title, affected laws (if any), money appropriated (if any), effective date, committee references, and legislative actions. Official documents include all bill versions and, when available, the following documents: filed amendments, staff analyses, floor votes, and cited statute and constitution sections.

A diagram is available to help you understand the format of the Bill History page.

How do I find all bills sponsored or co-sponsored by a senator?
There are two ways to find the bills sponsored by a particular senator:
  • Go to the Senators menu and click on the senator's name to bring up the senator's page. Under the senator's photograph is a "sponsored bills" link that will display a list of bills for which the senator is a prime or co-sponsor.
  • Go to the Daily Legislative Bill Information Book's Sponsor Report. The report lists all bills for which the senator is recorded as being a prime sponsor or co-sponsor.
This information may change throughout the course of a session so check back frequently.

How can I identify my senator or representative?
flsenate.gov has a page to help you find your legislator.

How can I contact my state senator?
The address and phone number for each senator's district and Tallahassee offices are listed on a senator's page. Go to the Senate member page on flsenate.gov to begin your search.

How do I find how a legislator voted on a bill?
Floor votes for a particular bill are available as part of a bill information page on flsenate.gov. Be advised that the information presented is provisional. For an official copy of a legislator's vote on a bill, consult the Senate or House Journal. For more information, call the Secretary of the Senate at (850) 487-5270 or the Clerk of the House at (850) 488-1157.

How can I search for a bill on flsenate.gov?
  • If you know the number of the bill you seek, simply type it in the "Jump To Bill" box on the left side of your screen and hit the "go" button.
  • If you know the popular name of a bill, go to the Daily Legislative Bill Information Book's Subject Index. Look under Popular Names or the subject matter of the bill to find each bill introduced on your topic. This information may change throughout the course of a session so check back frequently.
  • If you need to search bill text to find the bill you seek, simply type your query in the "Search Bill Text" box on the left side of your screen and hit the "go" button. For information on refining your search, go to Search Tips.

Where can I find amendments that are taken up?
Go to the amended bill's web page to view a list of filed amendments. Listed in numerical bar code order, actions are posted on the amendment and links are available to access the text of each amendment.

What does the underlining and overstriking in bill and amendment text mean?
Required by the rules of both houses of the legislature, underlining and overstriking indicate changes being made to the text of existing law or an existing constitutional provision. Underlined text is new language; and overstriking indicates text being removed from existing law.

What is the deadline for the Governor to sign a bill?
While the legislature is in session, the constitution allows a 7-day period following presentation of a bill to the Governor within which to sign or veto the bill. If the legislature adjourns sine die before an act is presented to the Governor or while an act is in the Governor’s possession, the Governor has 15 days from the date of presentation in which to take action. For more information, go to Article III, section 8 of the Florida Constitution.

What happens when the Governor vetoes a bill?
By vetoing a bill, the Governor prevents it from becoming a law and sends it back to its house of origin. It is available for consideration until the end of the current session or, if the legislature is not in session when the bill is received, until the end of the next regular session. If two-thirds of the members of each house vote to override (set aside) the Governor's veto, the bill becomes a law.

How do I save information I typed into a PDF form using the full version of Adobe Acrobat?
Save the file to your computer by right clicking the link to the PDF file and selecting “Save Target As” in Internet Explorer or “Save Link As” in Netscape. Open the PDF form in the full version of Acrobat and fill it out as normal. When you are ready to save your data, select "Export->Form Data" from the File menu. This will create a new file that can be imported back into the form at a later date by selecting "Import-> Form Data" from the File menu.

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