Gervais says, following state government can be tough – here are the terms you need to know to keep up with the legislative session:
Act - A bill that has passed both houses of the General Assembly and the Governor's veto
Adjournment - The time of day by which state constitutional officers are required to remove livestock from State House grounds
Amendment - Any change made or proposed in a bill by adding, changing, substituting or omitting. If a bill is like a girl with low self-esteem, an amendment is like a boob job.
Appropriation - Money set aside by formal action for specific use, judiciously applied toward the maintenance and improvement of the state, except for when it goes to the Education Establishment, where it gets thrown at schoolchildren (usually rolls of pennies)
Bill - Draft of proposed law presented to the Legislature to be amended beyond recognition. If debate makes legislation stronger, a Bill is like a ninety-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face at the beach. The seagulls are the amendments. Don’t use this metaphor in an exam situation.
Calendar - List of pending legislation, according to the order of business scheduled on a legislative day; also, something you can hang on your wall to remember that May 10th is Confederate Memorial Day
Caucus - An informal meeting of a group of the members, sometimes called on the basis of party affiliation, and in the case of the Senate Democratic Caucus, usually held in the corner booth at the Waffle House
Clincher - When a bill has received a reading, and a motion to reconsider has been tabled, this maneuver is referred to as a “clincher,” due to the fact that no other parliamentary motion can bring the Bill up for reconsideration. Also, the reflexive tightening of the anus by fellow Republicans whenever John Graham Altman opens his mouth.
Cloture - A common misspelling in journalism. It’s Coulter, you dumbasses, and she’s a pistol!
Confirmation - Approval by Senate and/or House of an executive appointment … as if the Governor would hire anyone without impeccable credentials
Debate - Discussion according to parliamentary rules. If legislation is like a 90-lb weakling who gets a boob job, debate is like a seagull with low self-esteem. Again, you may want to use your own analogy if you’re being tested.
Decorum - Proper order, etiquette, and conduct of members during a floor session while the Governor carries defecating pigs into the State House
Died in committee - The defeat of a bill in committee by not returning it to the House or Senate for action; also, a term used to describe Glenn McConnell’s breath
Filibuster - This is pretty much when someone talks and talks and talks, but nothing gets done. Think Sanford and unemployment, but applied to the Legislature.
Fiscal year - July 1-June 30. My fiscal new year’s resolution to stop shooting fireworks seldom lasts more than four days.
Gallery - Balconies or other specific areas of chambers for visitors to view the proceedings of the Legislature. Sometimes peanuts are served, and then guess what it’s called? Still “gallery.”
Germaneness - The relevance of amendments, speeches, etc., to the Jackson Five
Hopper - A depository for bills awaiting introduction. Sometimes it’s filled with grass, and then guess what it’s called? Still “hopper.”
Lobbyist - A representative of a special interest group whose function is to influence legislation affecting his special interest by writing letters to the editor under a pseudonym
Motion - Formal proposal offered by a member of the House or Senate; also, when Senate fullback Jakie Knotts jogs laterally, prior to the snap, to confuse the House linebackers during the annual House/Senate football game
Out of order - Not being conducted under proper parliamentary rules and procedures; also, the House Ms. Pac Man machine donated by the video poker lobby in 1998.
Simple Majority - The GOP
Sine die - Final adjournment. From the Latin sine, meaning “without,” and die, meaning “accomplishment”
Skeleton bill - A measure introduced without substance, in South Carolina usually referred to as simply “bill”
Sponsor - Legislator who introduces a bill, amendment or resolution; also a company that pays legislators to wear their apparel, as the Dorkwad Glasses Company apparently does Rep. Tom Dantzler
Stand at ease - A term referring to that situation in which the body does not recess or adjourn but suspends its deliberations; also, a term often heard muttered by members while Nikki Haley has the floor
Status of Bill - The position of a Bill at any given time in the legislative process. It can be in committee, on the Calendar, in the other house, etc. Also, good, thanks for asking.
Stopping the clock - A practice of lengthening the hours of the legislative day irrespective of the passing of the hours of a calendar day. Used to be called clock-blocking, in the General Assembly’s wilder days.
Sunset - Expiration date of a measure. If you eat a measure after its sunset, you may be in for an upset stomach.
Table - A means of disposing of a bill or other matter. Sometimes it’s done while drinking coffee, and then guess what it’s called? COFFEE TABLE!!!!! YAY!!!
Take a walk - To purposely be absent to avoid voting on a measure. Be careful not to do this on the "wild side," lest the coloured girls go doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.
Veto - The action of a Governor in disapproval of a measure passed by a popularly elected legislature controlled by his own party. Literally, means I forbid, which gives it an air of gravitas until the legislature overrides it later.