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The stages through which a bill passes to become a law

For a bill to become a law, there are various stages that it go through. This includes the First Reading, the second Reading, Committee Stage, the Report Stage, the Third Reading and finally the giving of Assent.

First Reading
At this stage, the bill is introduced to the law-making body, usually the parliament, for the first time by the Minister responsible for the ministry introducing the bill. This is normally in a draft form so it called a draft bill. This is received by the Clerk of Parliament who in turn informs the house. The Clerk reads the title of the bill and gives copies to the Members of Parliament for their personal perusal.

Second Reading
This is the stage where the Minister explains the purpose of the bill to the Members of Parliament. It is also at this stage that the bill is opened for members to debate whether the bill is necessary for consideration or not. A vote is then used to determine whether the bill should move to the next stage or not. If majority votes in favour, then the process is moved to the next stage, which is the Committee Stage.

Committee Stage
At this stage, the bill is sent to a committee of the house for scrutiny. The Committee of the house is duty bound to comb through the bill and propose any amendments they think is necessary. Where necessary, the bill is taken to other committees to make their take on it. Where amendments are required, such amendments are made to the bill.

Reporting Stage
The committee of the house is mandated to report back to the house whatever they noticed in the bill. Every committee that was privy to the bill reports back to Parliament their findings and the amendments they are proposing for consideration.

Third Reading
This is the stage where thoroughness is required. The bill is scrutinized more carefully to see if there are any other anomalies that needed to be sorted out before the bill is finally passed. In countries with bicameral legislatures, the bill, now passed, is sent to the second chamber of the parliament for consideration. Otherwise, it is sent to the Head of government for assent.

The Assent
This is the very final stage. The bill is taken to the President to append his signature. The bill cannot become a law if the President fails or refuses to append his signature to it. After the President’s signature, then the bill becomes law and can be enforced.

1. Trace the stages though a bill passes before it become a law. (12 marks)

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