A Bill proposes to create a new law or amend an existing one. Members debate its content in the Assembly and in committee.
Stages of a Bill
All Bills introduced in the Assembly must go through the following stages to become law:
First Reading: The Bill is introduced and read for the first time. No debate occurs at this stage. Printed copies of the Bill are distributed for further consideration. The option exists to refer the Bill to a committee that will conduct public hearings on its content.
Second Reading: The Minister begins a debate of the Bill by outlining its purpose and its provisions. Other members join the debate by critiquing the principle of the Bill.
Committee Stage: The Bill is referred to a policy field committee or Committee of the Whole for a detailed examination of the Bill. Public hearings may be held before the Bill is examined clause by clause. Amendments may also be proposed before the Bill is reported back to the Assembly.
Third Reading: Members may debate the Bill one final time before voting on it.
Royal Assent: The Lieutenant Governor or his representative gives the Bill Royal Assent.
For a more detailed explanation of Bills, see How Laws are Made.