A bill is not a law until it is signed into law by the executive. It is a proposal of action discussed in the parliament and later signed to become a law by the President.
Types of Bills in Parliament
Public bill:This one has to do with the issues confronting the country. It is usually a bill proposed by the executive arm of government.
Private members bill: This is a bill introduced by a parliamentarian or lawmaker.
Money bill:This bill informs on how government involves itself in raising and spending of money (Budget). This bill is introduced by the executive arm of govemment.
How a Bill Could Become a Law in the Parliament
This is the first stage of the bill. The bill is presented and it is required that its title be read by the clerk in the House. At this point, no opposition is registered and the bill is printed into leaflets for members to study.
The bill is now presented, after the member or a minister introducing the bill moves that the bill be read the second time. At this stage, discussions are made concerning the principles of the bill. The bill is debated and at the end a vote is taken on whether the bill should be read and sent to a committee. If the majority are in favour, the bill will move to the next stage.
The Committee Stage
At this stage, if the principles of the bill are approved by the House at the second reading, it is referred to one or other of the committees for detailed discussion, amendment and report.
The Report Stage
The committee’s report, stating the suggestions of the committee to improve the bill, is presented and any member may move for amendments.
Only verbal amendments may be made here. At this stage, the bill is passed or rejected. A thorough examination is done on the bill in order to improve on the actual drafting of the bill.
The Upper House
If the bill is passed, it is sent to the Upper House where it passes through similar stages. (It first started with the Lower House). Any further amendment suggested by the Upper House will require both Houses (Lower and Upper Houses) jointly setting up a committee to iron things out.
The bill is then presented for presidential assent, after which it becomes a law.
This has to do with those in which the legislature may make constitutional amendments, but subject to certain restrictions, not in line with the passing of ordinary laws.
This is always with written constitutions and about two third of the two Houses of parliament must approve it.
Referendum and Initiative Amendment Procedure
This is the people’s consent based on the majority for constitutional amendment. For example, in Switzerland, about fifty thousand voters through referendum and initiative are required for the passing of such amendments.
Federal Amendment Procedure
The amendment is with the component units of the federation and is essentially the consent of a majority of the voters. About three quarter of the units or states making up the federation must be obtained before the amendment scales through as in the USA, Nigeria etc. This is done to protect the smaller units from being dominated by the larger ones.
Judicial Interpretation Procedure
Amendment of the constitution could be done through judicial interpretations affecting only a part of the constitution.
Customary Amendment Procedure
This is mostly with unwritten constitutions and it can affect a particular custom, tradition or beliefs etc which must have been seen as no more relevant or useful with the times.