A bill must go through the following steps (in both Houses) to become law:
- First reading: Bill arrives.
- Second reading: Main debate on purpose and key areas of the bill.
- Committee stage: Detailed line by line scrutiny of the text with amendments (proposed changes). Votes may take place to decide whether to make the changes.
- Report stage: Further examination of the text. More amendments are debated and further votes take place to decide whether to make the changes.
- Third reading: After clause by clause consideration of the Bill, the member-in-charge of the Bill can move a motion that the Bill (or the Bill, as amended, as the case may be) be passed. At this stage, the debate is confined to arguments either in support or for rejection of the Bill without referring to the details thereof.
- Presidential Assent: When both Houses agree the final content, a bill is assented by the Parliament and becomes a law or ‘Act of Parliament’