Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills

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Many states recognize the importance of imposing time and reading requirements on their legislators. In fact, half of the states include constitutional provisions regulating the legislative timeline in some way. Some states only partially demand “readings” that include title only, while others demand numerous full readings, indispensable even in emergency.

Below, a table evaluates the state constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills prior to passage.

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Constitutional provision Language of provision Cite to provision
Alabama N
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Alaska Y
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Bills read three times in each house on three separate days, 2nd reading dispensable by ¾ of House. Art. 2, Sec. 14
Arizona N
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Arkansas N
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California P
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Requirement that “title” is read on three days in each house (a dispensable provision) and bill cannot be passed unless printed and distributed to members in its entirety first. Art. 4, Sec. 8(b)
Colorado
{{{1}}}
Requirement that “title” is read when introduced, and at length on two different days in each house and full bill and amendments must be printed before final vote. Requires votes in each house on two separate days. Constitution.pdf Art. 5, Sec. 22
Connecticut N
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Delaware N
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Florida Y
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Requirement of 72-hour appropriations bill review period Art. 3, Sec. 19
Georgia N
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Hawaii Y
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Requirement of 48-hour review period of all bills Art. 3, Sec. 15
Idaho Y
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dispensable
Requirement that bill is read on three days in each house previous to the final vote; Dispensable in case of urgency by 2/3 of house where bill is pending. Final passage of all bills must read at length. Art. 3, Sec. 15
Illinois P
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Requires “title” read three times, on three separate days. Bill must printed in entirety and placed on the desk of members before final passage. Art. 4, Sec. 8
Indiana P
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Requires “title” read on three days in each House; Dispensable by 2/3 vote; Reading of title before final vote cannot be dispensed. Art. 4, Sec. 18
Iowa N
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Kansas Y
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dispensable
No bill shall be passed on the day that it is introduced; dispensable in case of emergency as declared by 2/3 of members present in the House where it is pending Art. 2, Sec. 15
Kentucky Y
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dispensable
Full read on three different days in each House, but 2nd and 3rd can be dispensed with by majority; all bills must be printed for use of members before final vote Section 46
Louisiana Y
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Each bill must be read by title on three separate days in each house. No final passage without public hearing and committee report. Art. 3, Sec. 15(d)
Maine N
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Maryland Y
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dispensable
Bills must be read on three different days in each House, unless 2/3 otherwise specify; no bill will read third time until printed for third reading Art. 3, Sec. 27(a)
Massachusetts N
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Michigan
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Minnesota Y
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dispensable
Bill read on three different days in each House, unless 2/3 deem it expedient to dispense with rule; Must read twice at length by both Houses before passage Art. 4, Sec. 20
Mississippi P
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Read by title on three different days, dispensable by 2/3 of originating House; Read in full immediately before vote on final passage Constitution.pdf Art. 4, Sec. 59
Missouri N
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Montana
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Nebraska Y
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No vote on the final passage of any bill shall be taken until five legislative days after its introduction nor until it has been on file for final reading and passage for at least one day. Art. 3, Sec. 14
[[Nevada ]] Y
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dispensable
Read by sections on three several days in each house, unless dispensed by 2/3 House. The reading before final passage cannot be dispensed. Art. 4, Sec. 18
New Hampshire
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
New Jersey N
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New Mexico N
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New York Y
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dispensable by Governor
Bill in final form must be printed and upon the desks of members 3 legislative days prior to final passage, unless Governor specifies otherwise and bill must be in final form Art. 3, Sec. 14
North Carolina Y
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Bills must be read three times in each House before final vote Art. 2, Sec. 22
North Dakota P
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Bills must be read on two separate natural days, and the readings may be by title only unless a reading at length is demanded by 1/5 of present members
Ohio N
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Oklahoma Y
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Bills read on three different days in each House, and at length on its final passage. Art.5, Sec. 34
Oregon N
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Pennsylvania Y
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Bill shall be considered on three different days in each House. All amendments must be printed for use of members before final vote; at the written request of presiding officer by 25% of members, any bill shall be read at length in that house. Art. 3, Sec. 4
Rhode Island N
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South Carolina N
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Bill read three times on three several days; first and third reading dispensable (read only by title) Art.3, Sec. 18
South Dakota
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
Tennessee P
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“Considered and passed” on three different days in each House Tennessee.pdf Art. 2, Sec. 18
Texas Y
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dispensable
Read on three several days, unless suspended by 4/5 House Art. 3, Sec. 32
Utah Y
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dispensable
Bill must be read three separate times except when 2/3 house suspend the requirement Art. 6, Sec. 22
Vermont N
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Virginia P
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Title read or title printed on calendar. Art. 4, Sec. 11
Washington N
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West Virginia Y
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dispensable
Full and distinct reading on three different days in each house; 4/5 of members present can dispense with rule as long as bill read fully in each house once. Art. 6, Sec. 29
Wisconsin N
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Wyoming N
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