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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

What is First Reading? How many readings does a bill get before the body can vote on it? Why?

The state constitution requires that each bill be reported on three separate days in each body before votes for final passage can occur. These reports of the bill are called readings. Therefore, every bill will have a first, second, and third reading before a vote is taken.

A bill is given its first reading at the time it is introduced. A bill typically receives its second reading after it has been heard in committee and has been recommended to pass. It is then ready to be placed on one of the calendars or agendas in each house.

Once all proposed amendments have been discussed and voted on, a bill receives its third reading and can no longer be amended. Then members discuss the bill and it proceeds to final vote.

Under extraordinary conditions, a bill may receive all three readings in one day in either the House or the Senate if a motion to bypass the rules of the body receives a two-thirds majority vote.

See the Legislature's Civic Engagement Resources page for more about how a bill becomes a law.