An Overview of Legislation
Law is the method by which legislation is effected or made. Legislature is the procedure by which a legislature or governing body makes or authorizes something. Before an act of legislation is legally enacted, it can be called a bill, which can be further broadened to mean either a bill of rights, or some other constitutional provision, while it remains under deliberation in the Houses of Congress to distinguish it somewhat from other legislation. There are two types of bills in common use. One is the statutory bill, which is required by the constitution; the other is the act of Congress, which is usually a much later sort of bill.
Statutory legislation may take judicial notice as provided by the Constitution, when the case has to do with private property, corporate rights or individual rights. The power to judge cases under the Constitution is vested exclusively in the courts. The executive branch and the Congress cannot judge or decide cases except in the cases mentioned in Article III of the Constitution. Congress has the power to exercise the power conferred upon it by the Constitution only in matters within its legislative capacity, such as war, peace, tariffs, sedition, and piracy. Excepting war and national emergency, each house of Congress may impeach or expel from office, or appoint, under the Constitution, any officer of the Executive Department under the control of Congress, any other officer not of the House of Representatives or the Senate, except the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Comptroller of the Board of Administration, and any other executive officer not removable by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Joint resolutions refer to a body of legislation which is intended to be passed as a unit. When passed together by both Houses, joint resolutions have the same meaning as a resolution proposed by one of the Houses. The only difference between a joint resolution and a resolution is that the latter has the approval of more members than the former. A majority of the members present in both Houses vote for the joint resolution. In case more than one member present wishes to pass the resolution, a voting process is used.
The difference between a law and a statute is that a law comes into force only after it receives the consent of the electorate at a general election. A law cannot go into force before the end of its session or before a specified deadline, unless it receives the affirmative vote of a provincial legislature. There are some jurisdictions in which a provincial Act overrides a municipal law. In such a situation, the law passed by the provincial legislature is considered superior to the municipal law. Legislation, as defined by the Constitution, is any Act of the Legislature of the United States which affects interstate commerce. In most jurisdictions, the word ‘legislature’ means the body of the legislature.
Bills are introduced into the legislative process by either the members of the house who are holding office or by other representatives of the legislative body. Private members can introduce their own bills, but in such cases, they are required to refer the bill to the appropriate committee. Once the bill has been passed by the members of the house, it is forwarded to the Senate for further consideration.
Legislation is not limited to any particular area or subject. It can be legislated for the whole life of the United States government or can be restricted to certain subjects or to a specified time period. Some legislators are immediately enacted and others take effect later. The enactments include civil statutes, tax laws, regulatory acts, laws affecting interstate commerce, historical statutes, certain judicial acts, implementing legislation, laws prescribing rules and conditions for licenses, privileges, and immunities of professional organizations, and similar statutes.