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Oregon Legislative Resources: Glossaries

This Guide is intended to help you trace the history of an Oregon law, from its introduction as a bill to codification in statute.

Glossary of Legislative Terms

  • An agency directive, standard, regulation or statement of general applicability that implements, interprets or prescribes law or policy, or describes the procedure or practice requirements of any agency.
  • Bill File:
    All of the records associated with a specific bill. A file may contain various versions of the bill, committee minutes, testimony, hearing logs, fiscal analysis, reports, etc.
  • Bill Status:
    Tracks the legislative process of the bill. A bill may be in committee, introduced on the floor of the Senate or House, voted on, etc. Also referred to as Measure Status. Use OLIS to find status of current bills. Use Senate/House Journal to track status of past session bills.
  • Also referred to as Session Law and officially called the "Oregon Laws". The session laws are a compilation of laws enacted and selected memorials and resolutions adopted during a single session. They are published in bound volumes with tables and an index.
  • The minutes, exhibits, recording logs, and audio recordings of legislative committee meetings. Recent records are available on the OLIS site. Historical records are available at the State Archives.
  • Exhibits:
    Letters, written testimony, proposed amendments, etc. regarding a bill. Exhibits are submitted by legislators, committee staff, and citizens in support or opposition to a proposed bill. Records from 2007+ available through OLIS, past information available through the State Archives.
  • Compilation of House member activities, published at the end of each legislative session. Use the table-of-contents to find, measure status, committee membership, etc.
  • Group of legislators assigned to study bills and make recommendations on their passage to the full Senate or House.
  • A bill, resolution, or memorial.
  • Measure Status Report:
    Published daily during a legislative session, lists the action taken on each measure, hearing and work session dates, etc. After adjournment, a compilation of every measure introduced during the session is published in the Final Legislative Measures--Status Report. Also published in the Senate/House Journals.
  • Oregon Legislative Information System, an online portal providing access to bills, committee information and exhibits from 2007 onward.
  • A compilation of the activities of Senate members, published at the end of each legislative session. Use the table-of-contents to find, measure status, committee membership, etc.
  • Officially called Oregon Laws, the session laws are a compilation of laws, memorials and resolutions adopted during a single legislative session. They are sometimes referred to as Chapter Laws.
  • The codified laws of the State of Oregon. Officially called the Oregon Revised Statutes, the ORS is published every two years. Long Law Library has copies of past ORS.

Bill Status Terms

  • Do Pass:
    The recommendation by a committee for passage, abbreviated "DP”. "DPA" means "do pass with amendments".
  • Emergency Clause:
    A statement added to the end of measure which causes it to become effective, upon passage, before the accustomed date (the 91st day after adjournment sine die). An emergency clause either sets a specific date or is effective immediately, which means that the measure will take effect on the date of its signature into law. NOTE: emergency clauses may not be attached to bills which would raise revenue.
  • Engrossed Bill:
    A measure that is printed with its amendments included. Such a bill will have "A (or B or C, etc.) Engrossed" printed at the top, which is a signal to legislators, before a vote, that the bill has been changed from its original version.
  • Enrolled Bill:
    A final copy of a bill which has been passed by both houses of the Legislature and has been specially reprinted for signing by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. After these signatures, the enrolled bill goes to the Governor.
  • First Reading:
    The introductory reading on the chamber floor of the measure number, title, and sponsor by the Reading Clerk in either house. After the first reading, the measure is referred to committee by the Speaker or President. According to House rules, a bill must go to a relevant substantive committee.
  • In Committee Upon Adjournment:
    A bill that is still in committee at the time the legislative session has ended. This bill is considered dead. A bill with the same (or similar) legislative concept may be introduced during the following legislative session, but it will have a different bill number and will start at the beginning of bill life-cycle.
  • Report Out:
    To return a measure from a committee to the Senate or House Desk with or without recommendation as to further action.
  • Second Reading:
    Second Reading occurs after the measure has been referred to committee, worked on, and reported back to the floor (in the house where it originated) for a vote.
  • A statement added to the end of a measure which causes the act to "sunset," or become ineffective, after a certain date.
  • Third Reading:
    Occurs after the First and Second Readings, by the Reading Clerk on the floor before consideration by either house, usually done before a final vote.
  • Veto:
    The Governor may veto a measure that has passed both houses. A bill that has been vetoed is returned to its house of origin with written objections. A Governor's veto may be reconsidered by both houses, and if it is again passed by two-thirds of the members present, it is considered overridden and becomes law. It is reconsidered upon a motion from the floor, and must be reconsidered at the very next Legislative session following the veto.

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