How a bill becomes a law

In the Colorado legislature, bills are introduced by legislators and each legislator is permitted to introduce five bills each legislative session. Bills can start in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Here are the typical steps a bill will go through in order to become law:

1.    Introduction
2.    First Reading by the Clerk
3.    Assigned to Committee
4.    Committee Hearing (where public testimony & amendments may be offered) in consideration of the bill
5.    Committee Reports Offered
6.    Second reading of the bill (may include debate and additional amendments)
7.    Third and final reading of the bill
8.    Goes to the other chamber (House or Senate) for the same process
9.    If a bill passes both the Senate and House without amendments, the bill goes to the Governor for his/her signature and becomes law; otherwise, the bill is referred to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions.

Conference Committee

A conference committee is made up of two committees (one from the Senate and one from the House) with three members each, which meets together to attempt to work out language acceptable to both the Senate and House when agreement could not be reached through committee or floor amendments.


If a bill is vetoed by the Governor, he/she sends a veto message to the legislature. If they decide to override the Governor's veto, it must have two-thirds votes of all members from both the House and Senate. If the Governor fails to sign a bill within 10 days upon receiving a bill while the legislature is in session or within 30 days if the legislature is adjourned, the bill becomes Colorado law.

Confused? Here's a simple graphic that might help:

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