The legislative powers of the City, except as limited by the Charter, are vested in City Council. As the legislative body, Council makes and passes the laws governing the city. The legislative process comprises a number of steps, and includes committee action during which the most intense consideration is given to the proposed measures; this is also the time when citizens are given their opportunity to be heard. Each piece of legislation is referred to the committee that has jurisdiction over the area affected by the measure. Council members serve on at least two committees and all serve on the Committee of the Whole. Most committee meetings are held in the Court’s jury room or in the Council Chambers.
Legislation is introduced in the following manner:
- Legislation is proposed by Council members, the Mayor or administration or by citizen initiative (petition). Under Article III, Section 8 of the City Charter, “each proposed ordinance shall be introduced in written or printed form and shall not contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly stated in the title,” with the exception of general appropriation ordinances.
- Proposed legislation is introduced to Council during a regularly scheduled public Council meeting and referred to the appropriate committee.
- A committee hearing is held, during which Council members consider the proposed legislation and public commentary.
- If necessary, the proposed legislation is amended.
- The committee votes on the legislation.
- If passed, the legislation is sent to full Council for discussion and a final vote.
- If passed, the legislation is sent to the Mayor.
- The Mayor signs the legislation.
- The proposed legislation becomes a local law.
If the Mayor disapproves and vetoes it, the legislation comes back to Council with the Mayor’s written objections. Council can override the Mayor’s veto by a two-thirds vote. If the Mayor does not sign or veto the legislation within ten days after receiving it from Council, it is considered approved.