How to Read a Bill
Not sure how to read a bill? Wonder what the brackets, strikethroughs and bold type mean?
[Light face brackets] are used only in bills amending an existing law. They indicate that anything enclosed thereby appears in the existing law, but that it is proposed to omit it from the law as amended. The brackets and anything enclosed by them are carried along into the law, if the bill is finally enacted.
Underscoring is used only in bills amending an existing law. It indicates that the underscored matter does not appear in the existing law, but that it is proposed to insert it in the law as amended. The underscored matter will be carried into the law if the bill is finally enacted.
Ellipses (* * *) are used only in bills amending an existing law. They indicate omitted law which is not proposed to be changed in the bill.
[Dark] face brackets are used only in bills that have been amended, either in committee or on the floor of either House. They indicate brackets inserted by such amendment and have the same effect as light face brackets.
Strike out type is used only in bills that have been amended either in committee or on the floor of either House. They indicate that anything so printed appeared in a previous print of the bill but is to be deleted, and will not appear in the text of the law if the bill is finally enacted.
CAPITAL LETTERS are used only in bills that have been amended, either in committee or on the floor of either House. They indicate that the matter in capital letters did not appear in the original print of the bill, but was inserted into the bill by amendment in either House. The matter in capital letters will be carried into the law, if the bill is finally enacted in ordinary print, unless it is also underscored, in which case it will be printed in italics.
Strike out type and CAPITAL LETTERS indicate only the amendments made to the bill at the last previous state of passage. All prior strike out amendments are dropped entirely from the new print and all insert amendments previously shown in CAPITAL LETTERS are reset in lower case type. The one exception to this rule is a House bill amended more than once in the Senate or a Senate bill amended more than once in the House will, on the second and subsequent printings cumulate all amendments made in the latter House, so that all amendments in which concurrence by the House of origin is required will stand out.
The line immediately preceding the title of the bill shows the stage of passage at which the amendments appearing on that print were made. All preceding printer's numbers of each bill are shown in consecutive order in a line at the top of the first page of each bill.