Amendments are proposals for change to a piece of legislation as it is presented in committee or on the chamber floor. There is a small “window of opportunity” when amendments may be considered – usually at the start of pro/con debate. Once the committee chairperson or chamber presiding officer announces the start of the amendment period, any legislator may make one.
If recognized, the legislator would address the chair by saying: “there is an amendment on the floor.” The chair would then take a vote to see if the amendment should be heard. “All those in favor of hearing the proposed amendment, signify by saying aye…all opposed nay.” A simple majority is needed when voting. If the committee is against the amendment being heard, then it will not be heard.
If the committee/chamber wants to hear the amendment, the amendment author has one minute to read the proposed amendment and state the reason for its existence. There will be a two-minute period of pro/con debate on the proposed amendment and another minute for the amendment author’s closing statement.
A vote will then be taken on whether or not to adopt the amendment. If the amendment is voted down, it will not be considered any further. If the appropriate number of votes approves the amendment, the amendment is incorporated within the bill. Regular pro/con debate will then resume.