Document 3: Florence Ledyard C. Kitchelt, "The Mechanism of Law-Making in Connecticut: A Diagram of the General Assembly," 1927, Florence Ledyard Cross Papers, 1885-1961, A-61, Box 2, Folder 16, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


   After 1920, as Citizenship Director of the Connecticut League of Women Voters, Florence Kitchelt organized citizenship classes for women throughout the state. Her efforts became a model for other state leagues. This diagram instructed women voters in the mechanics of the State Assembly's legislative process.

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Copyright 1920, by Florence Ledyard C. Kitchelt


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    A bill may be introduced by either a representative or a senator. This diagram shows a "House Bill," so named when introduced by a representative.

    It is given its first reading, by title, by the clerks of both houses. These clerks are not legislators, but are salaried officials elected by the members of their respective houses.

    All bills are referred to joint committees by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, who are the presiding officers. The President is the Lieutenant-Governor.

    These committees number over forty, and are named "Agriculture," "Education," "Judiciary," "Labor," "Manufactures," "Railroads," "State Prison," etc., etc.

    Every member of the legislature is a member of one or more of these joint committees, all being appointed by the Speaker and the President Pro Tem of the Senate who are elected from among the legislators by their fellow-members. These committees generally consist of three representatives and two senators.

    Each Joint Committee has two chairmen, the House Chairman and the Senate Chairman, the latter presiding at committee hearings.

    The Joint Committee holds a public hearing on all bills referred to it, Substitute bills or new bills originating in the committee are not given a public hearing.

    Certain bills concerned only with appropriations go to the Appropriations Committee directly. Bills going to other committees but carrying appropriations, must be heard also by that committee.

    In the case of the Appropriations Committee, a private, executive session must be held not later than two weeks after each hearing. The date is not set for other committees. All committees must report their decisions within two weeks after final action. If a majority of the members present vote in favor, the bill comes out with a favorable report.

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    It now goes to the Clerk of Bills for examination as to proper form and phraseology. This clerk is appointed by the Judiciary and Engrossing Committees and is salaried. He stamps "examined and approved" on the bill.

    The bill goes before the House for a second reading, by title. If this bill comes from another committee but carries an appropriation, it should be sent to the Appropriations Committee at this point, and must be reported out again by them.

    At this second reading (or third for bill cited above) the Speaker says "tabled for calendar and printing." The House Clerk has it placed on the calendar, which shows the order of bills coming up to be voted upon. The Engrossing Clerk sees that it is correctly printed in the files which are distributed on the members' desks. This clerk also is appointed by the Judiciary and Engrossing Committees and is salaried.

    The bill must lie at least one day on the desks before it comes up for its third reading, by title. The House Chairman or other member of the Joint Committee explains the bill, and all the representatives may vote upon it.

    If the vote is favorable, the bill, after being held one day for a possible reconsideration, passes to the Senate for its second reading there, when the President tables it for the calendar. It already has appeared in print in the files on the senators' desks.

    After having lain on the desks for at least one day, it may be voted upon in the Senate. The Senate Chairman or the other senator on the Joint Committee explains the bill.

    If the Senate votes favorably, the bill goes to the Engrossing Committee, where every detail is carefully scrutinized as to correctness, and the Engrossing Clerk, the Speaker, and the President affix their signatures. The bill is then sent to the Secretary of State, who transmits it to the Governor, who signs or vetoes.

    If the Governor holds the bill three days, excluding Sunday, it becomes a law without his signature (unless the Assembly meanwhile has adjourned.)

    The routine as here indicated is laid down by the Joint Rules of the General Assembly, by the General Statutes, and by the Constitution.

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