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EFFECTIVE DATES

The date a proposed new law goes into effect is an important part of analyzing a bill.  Bills can go into effect 90 days after the legislative session has ended; earlier than 90 days after the session; later than 90 days, or at the very moment the governor signs them.

90-Day and Immediate Effect Bills

Most bills are known as "90-day Bills" which become law 90 days after the legislative session has ended.  You can determine the date a law would go into effect by looking for the Emergency Clause found at the end of the bill.  A 90-day Bill, Emergency Clause generally reads:

SECTION #. EMERGENCY. The importance of this legislation and the crowded conditions of the calendars in both houses create an emergency and an imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.

A bill that goes into effect upon the sigfnature of the Governor is known as an Immediate Effect Bill.  When a bill is to be an Immediate Effect Bill, the following words are added to that language:

and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its passage, and it is so enacted.

These words are an automatic signal that the bill is intended to be an Immediate Effect Bill and it must be put into operation soon after it passes.

Just because a bill is intended to be an Immediate Effect Bill does not mean that it will end up that way.  Every session a number of bills start out as Immediate Effect Bills only to wind up as 90-day Bills. This happens because, in the process of being passed by the Legislature, the House or Senate failed to cast a record vote showing that two-thirds of the members of both chambers voted for the bill. Without such a vote, a bill cannot be made effective in less than 90 days after the session ends.

When analyzing the impact of an Immediate Effect Bill, you should not consider the possibility that it could be converted into a 90-day Bill because this is not determined until much later.  Comments should be based on the belief that it will be effective immediately.

Setting Other Effective Dates

The Legislature can decide it does not want a bill to be either a 90-day or an Immediate Effect Bill, but wants it to go into effect on a certain date.  When this happens, the bill will include a provision (often a separate SECTION) that sets the date.  For example, a SECTION before the Emergency Clause will be included that says:

SECTION #. This Act takes effect September 1, 1997.

If the bill is intended to go into effect on a fixed date that is less than the 91st day after a session ends, a section setting an effective date is usually included in the text of the bill and the language of the emergency clause may be changed to read something like the following:

SECTION #. The importance of this legislation and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an emergency and imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended, and that this Act take effect and be in force according to its terms, and is so enacted.

Such a bill (sometimes known as "accelerated but not immediate effect bill") also requires a two-thirds vote of the total membership of both houses to sidestep the 90-day rule. This is used when it is important that the new law take effect in less than 90-days after the session ends, but it is also necessary that it be, for example, on the first day of a month or a first day of the quarter, rather than on the day that the governor signs it.

Sometimes the Legislature decides that it wants part of a bill to go into effect on one date and another part (or parts) to become effective on another date. If so, the bill may include a SECTION near the end that says something like:

SECTION #. SECTION 1 of this Act takes effect on September 1, 1997.

It may also say that the other sections take effect on some other date or not mention them at all if only SECTION 1 is to take effect on some specific date.

In some cases, the special effective date may be included with the SECTION it affects. This is harder to find, but it is something to watch for.

If the bill is broken into ARTICLES as well as SECTIONS, it may also provide that one or more of the ARTICLES will take effect on a special date. The same system is used to show this, either a special section of the bill setting the date or inclusion of the special date in the text of the ARTICLE.

Temporary Laws and Special Instructions

Similar procedrues are used to show that a provision of the bill is only temporary and is to expire at a certain date. This is shown at the end of the bill in a special SECTION or it can be buried in the text of the bill. If a special section is used to identify a temporary law, it is often identified by a SECTION heading that says something like:

SECTION 7. TEMPORARY PROVISION

Look for these provisions since they can affect or change a bill analysis.

In addition, be careful to look for special instructions buried in the bill.  This may require looking at a law other than the bill under consideration in order to fully analyze its impact. These provisions can be used as a backdoor to accomplish something since people may overlook them if included in a bill which appears to be on a different subject.