So what are those strange codes that appear near the top of bills before they get a bill number? Codes like, for instance “BILL DRAFT 2007-LBxz-52 [v.3] (1/29)”
There are two stages a bill passes through prior to filing in the clerk’s office:
- Unproofed draft. This is usually the first draft, prepared by a professional in the Bill Drafting or Research Divisions, and sent to the House or Senate member for review. A code is assigned by the drafter in the process of seeting up the file.
- Proofed Draft. After the draft that has been approved by the member, it is sent to the Bill Typing and Proofreading Sections for final formatting and proofreading. A new code is assigned to the draft at that time, incorporating much of the old code. At this point, copies are printed and a bill jacket prepared for filing and introduction
Each version has a series of codes to identify persons who have worked on the draft and how to find the file.
Sample code: BILL DRAFT 2007-LB-52xz [v.3] (1/29)
The first part of the code identifies the session for which the draft is being prepared. The “2007” in the code reflects the year of session the draft is prepared for. 2007 is used for the entire biennial session for 2007 and 2008, and began use immediately upon sine die adjournment of the 2005 Regular Session.
The second part of the code indicates the drafter assigned to the project. The first letter will either be “L” or “M” reflecting drafters in the Bill Drafting Division (and one attorney in the Fiscal Research Division), or will be “R“, “S“, or “T” reflecting drafters in the Research Division. The use of the codes began after the 1977 long session to identify the drafter to others in the office, to bill typists, proofreaders, and those preparing bill digests for the School of Government Daily Bulletin. My code is “LB”, and has been assigned to me since 1977. At one time, codes were reassigned to new drafters after staff changes, for the last decade they have been unique.
The third part of the code is a sequence indicating the sequential file number for that particular drafter, in this case 52 is my 52nd draft for the biennium. This helps in locating the hard copy file. Somewhere in my office are 30 years of files.
The fourth part of the code (which does not always appear) identifies the type of bill, and assists the Principal Clerk’s office in making up the calendar. “x” indicates a vote where a roll call is required by the Constitution (taxes and bonds), “f” where a roll call is required by the House rules (fees), “z” for bills recommended by study commissions, “qq” indicates it establishes a licensing board, and * indicates a companion (identical) bill has been prepared for a member of the other house with knowledge of both sponsors.
The fifth part of the code indicates the version number of the draft, [v.3] indicates it is the third revision.
The sixth and final part of the code (1/29) is the date the request was received, which alerts the clerk’s offic as to whether the draft met the request deadline.
sample code: DRS55064-LB-52* (1/29)
Here are the difference from the codes on the unproofed draft:
The year has been replaced with a code indicating several other pieces of informnation.
- “DR” means draft,
- “S” or “H” the house of origin
- the first digit 5 is the code # for the bill typist, and
- the remaining digits 5064 indicates the typist’s sequential number in finding the hard copy of the file.
The version number is dropped in the proofed draft.
When the bill is filed in the clerk’s office, a bill number is stamped on the hard copy, but the file with the codes is posted on the internet. After the bill is read the first time and referred to committee, the first edition is printed (“1” in the upper right corner) and all the codes drop off. Both the unproofed and proofed drafts had a “D” for draft in the upper right corner of the bill.