Enrolled Bills and Joint Resolutions
Enrolled Bills - Official Acts of the Legislature
The Secretary of State receives the final, official copy of every bill enacted by the Legislature and either approved or vetoed by the Governor.
When a bill is passed in both houses of the Legislature, the final version is printed as an enrolled bill. These printed copies are in booklet format, and include the final text of the bill, sometimes with handwritten corrections initialed by the Clerks of the House of Delegates and Senate.
Each bill concludes with a signature page, with lines for signature by the Senate and House Chairs of the Joint Committee on Enrolled Bills, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the House of Delegates, and finally the Governor. The Legislative officials' signatures must be present before the bill can be considered by the Governor.
Once it is in final form, the Governor receives the bill and assigns legal staff to review it. If a bill has serious technical problems, the Governor may be forced to reject it in spite of the policy contained in the bill. If there are no technical problems, the Governor makes a policy decision about whether the bill should become law.
To approve a bill, the Governor's signs it. To reject a bill, the Governor prepares a veto message, usually giving the reasons for the veto, signs the message and notes on the signature page that he has disapproved the bill.
A few bills become law without the Governor's signature. If the Governor takes no action within fifteen days following the adjournment of the session "sine die", the bill becomes law automatically. Some governors use this provision to express general dissatisfaction with the legislation without preventing the bill from becoming law. The Governor has five days in which to act on appropriations bills following adjournment.
Each body of the Legislature adopts resolutions, many of them ceremonial, giving recognition to individuals, groups and causes. Resolutions of the House of Delegates are numbered with "H. R." as the prefix, and Senate Resolutions are numbered with "S. R." as the prefix. The two bodies may also agree together to adopt concurrent resolutions, designated with "S.C.R." or "H.C.R.", which represent the sentiment of the Legislature. These single body and concurrent resolutions are filed with the Clerk of the originating body, and not with the Secretary of State.
When the two bodies act together to put an issue on the ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment, or in the process of state ratification of an amendment to the United States Constitution, they adopt a joint resolution. The initiating body initial is placed first, then the initials for joint resolution, so the numbers of these resolutions are prefixed by "H. J. R." for House Joint Resolution, or "S. J. R." for Senate Joint Resolution. The joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment acts as an official order to the Secretary of State to give notice of the amendment and place it on the ballot.
Requesting Information and Copies of Enrolled Bills and Joint Resolutions
Copies and certified copies of enrolled bills and joint resolutions may be ordered. While copies last following the legislative session, the Legislative Bill Room may be able to provide a copy of an enrolled bill free of charge. Contact the office of the Clerk of the body which initiated the bill.
Although it takes some time after the session to get enrolled bills prepared, when that is complete, you will be able to view the text of an enrolled bill at no cost at the Legislature website.
Copies of enrolled bills and joint resolutions adopted before 1973 are maintained by the Division of Archives and History. Since 1973, the original copies remain with the Secretary of State.
If you do not know the bill number but only the subject matter, please try to find the S.B. or H.B. number using the "Bill Tracking" or "Acts of the Legislature" sections of the Legislature website, where you can search by topic.
||To request information by e-mail about enrolled bills and joint resolutions, click the icon. Requests which require an extensive search of older records may be subject to search fees.