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State of Maine Legislature Glossary of Terms

Term Description
ACT A Bill passed or enacted by both chambers that becomes a public law or private and special law.  Does not include resolves, constitutional resolutions, orders or other papers.
ACTPS Private & Special Laws
ACTPUB Public Laws
ADHERE In response to conflicting action on a Bill by one chamber, the other chamber votes to stand adamantly by its previous action.  A vote to adhere to a negative action kills the Bill.  This motion is stronger than a motion to Insist and is the opposite of the action to Recede.
ADJOURNMENT The end of the legislative day.
ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE Adjournment Without Day.  This is the final adjournment of the session when all business has been completed.
AFTER DEADLINE BILLS A request for a Bill after the cloture date.  These Bills must be approved by the Legislative Council before they can be introduced.
ALLOCATION A legislative authorization to spend funds, other than from the General Fund (e.g. federal funds, funds in dedicated accounts), for specific purpose.
AMEND To alter or modify a law or bill.
AMENDMENTS Suggested changes that may clarify, restrict, expand, correct, or otherwise modify the bill as printed.
AMD Amendment
ANT. DIV REP. Anticipated Divided Report.  The Committee vote has not yet been finalized but so far it looks like a Divided Report is expected. 
APPROPRIATION A legislative authorization to spend funds from the General Fund for a specific purpose.
Once Bills that affect state revenues are enacted in the House they are placed on this table in the Senate.  The Bills usually stay on this table until late in the session when General Fund resources are determined and can be divided among the tabled bills.
BICAMERAL Term used to refer to Legislatures having two chambers.
BIENNIUM A two-year period.  Used to describe the two-year cycle of the Legislature or the state budget.
BILL A proposal for a law.  Refers only to proposed public or private and special laws.  Generally referred to as an LD (Legislative Document).
BLAINE HOUSE The residence of Maine's Governors since 1920, named after James G. Blaine (1830-1893), presidential candidate, US Secretary of State and Governor of Maine.  The Blaine House is located north of the State House on the corner of Capitol and State Streets.
BODY Refers to a chamber of the Legislature.  The House is one body and the Senate is another body.
BOND ISSUE Issuance of a certificate of indebtedness by a governmental entity in return for the money it borrows.
BUDGET Estimate of receipts and expenditures for a fiscal year or biennium.
BY REQUEST Introduction of a Bill that the sponsor may not fully support but has submitted as a service to a constituent.
CALENDAR The agenda of each chambers business.  All items taken up in the chambers must appear on a Calendar or Supplement.  Also referred to as the Advanced Calendar and Journal.
CAUCUS Members of a legislative group, most commonly a political party, to decide on policies or strategies.
CHAIR Presiding Officer.  In the Senate it is the President and in the House it is the Speaker.  Joint Committees have both a House chair and a Senate chair.
CHAMBER Refers to either the House or the Senate.
CLERK OF THE HOUSE Chief administrative officer of the House who is elected by the members of the House each biennium.  The Clerk is assisted by the Assistant Clerk of the House, also elected by the members of the House each biennium.
CLOTURE Deadline for submitting completed requests for bills to be considered during the legislative session.
CO Convention Order
COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS Amendments offered by a Committee when the Committee reports a Bill to the Legislature.
COMMITTEE A group of Legislators delegated to examine a certain subject or certain proposals.  Legislative committees can take different forms, the most common use of the term is to refer to Joint Standing Committees witch consist of 3 Senators and 10 Representatives.
COMMITTEE CLERK Clerical assistant to a Committee who maintains custody of bills referred to the committee; prepares notices for committee hearings and work sessions; and reports bills out to the House or Senate after final committee action is taken.
COMMITTEE REPORT Committees vote on a recommended action on a bill.  This report is presented to the Legislature for consideration. 
COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE Appointed when the two chambers cannot agree.  This is a final attempt to resolve disagreements and keep a Bill from being killed.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE All members of a chamber when sitting as a committee.
COMMUNICATION Letter or other written message made to one or both chambers and appearing on the Calendar.
CON RES Constitutional Resolution
CONCUR Agree.  When both chambers agree it is a concurrent matter.  When the chambers disagree it is a non-concurrent matter.  To Recede and concur calls for the chamber to agree with the action of the other chamber.
CONCURRENCE Agreement between the two chambers.
CONFIRMATION Approval of an appointment.  Typically used for Gubernatorial appointments where a Committee holds a public hearing and makes a recommendation to the Senate.  The Senate votes whether to accept or reject the recommendation.
CONFIRMATION SESSION A session of the Senate alone where decisions are made regarding the confirmation of gubernatorial appointments.  This is typically a one day session and no other business may be conducted during this time.
CONSENT CALENDAR In the House, a bill that does not involve a gain or loss of revenue and that has received a unanimous "ought to pass" or "ought to pass as amended" committee report is placed on the consent calendar.  If there is no objection, after two legislative days, the bill is considered passed to be engrossed.
CONSTITUTIONAL RESOLUTION The only way to amend the Maine Constitution.  Must be passed by 2/3 of each chamber and then approved by a majority of voters in a statewide election.
(DEAD) Denotes that the item will have no further action taken and has been placed in the legislative file.
DEBATE Formal argument and discussion between members of a chamber following Rules of Order.
DIVIDED REPORT If Committee members disagree on a recommended action multiple reports are submitted for the Legislature to consider.
DIVISION Only the total number of votes for and against a motion are recorded (no names or individual votes are recorded).
DOORKEEPER The employee in each chamber who controls the entrances to the chambers.  The doorkeeper of each chamber is appointed by the presiding officer of the chamber.  During Roll Calls it is the doorkeepers responsibility to deny access and exit to and from the chamber.
EFFECTIVE DATE The date on which a law goes into effect.  This is 90 days after Adjournment Sine Die unless specifically stated in the Bill.
EMERGENCY BILL A measure that is passed to take effect immediately upon signing by the Governor or some other date (less than 90 days) as specified in the Bill.   Bills introduced in the second year of the biennium must be of an emergency nature (except for budgetary matters).
EMERGENCY CLAUSE A section of the bill that sets the effective date of the measure.
EMERGENCY PREAMBLE Language in the Bill that sets out the reasons why the Legislature considers the measure to merit emergency treatment.
ENACT To pass and send to the Governor for signature.
ENACTING CLAUSE Formal enacting language required by the Maine Constitution.
ENACTMENT The process whereby a Bill becomes an Act.  It is the last step before a measure is sent to the Governor for approval.
ENGROSSED The process of preparing the Bill or Resolve for Enactment.  A new document is compiled to include any amendments and changes that have been adopted by both chambers.
ERRORS BILL A bill generally introduced each year to remedy nonsubstantive, technical errors in enacted laws. 
FAILURE OF ENACTMENT The status of a measure which fails to get enough votes for passage, such as an emergency bill that receives less than two-thirds the elected membership of a chamber.
FINALLY PASSED Resolve/Resolution enacting language.
FIRST READING The first time a Bill is reported out of Committee the Legislature votes to accept or reject the Report of the Committee and any Committee Amendments or Floor Amendments from the other body.
FISCAL NOTES Prior to reporting out a Bill, Committees must indicate whether a Bill will increase or decrease state revenues or expenditures as well as if the Bill constitutes a mandate.  The Fiscal Note describes the fiscal impact of the Bill.
FISCAL YEAR For State Government, the 12-month period from July 1st to June 30th for which the budget is formulated.  Municipal and County governments may operate on different 12-month fiscal years.
FLOOR Within the chamber while that chamber is in session, as in floor amendment or floor debate.  Floor actions are distinguished from actions taking place elsewhere (e.g. lobbying or committee actions) outside the chambers.
FLOOR AMENDMENT Amendments offered by legislators in the chamber.
FLOOR LEADER Refers to Democratic and Republican leadership position in the Senate and the House.
FORTHWITH To send an item immediately.
GERMANE Relevant.  Unlike congressional practices allowing all manner of riders to bills, Maine's legislative rules limit amendments to those that are relevant to the purpose of the bills as evidenced by its title.
GOVERNOR'S BILL A measure proposed by the Governor.  A Governor's bills has a legislative sponsor and/or cosponsors.
GRANDFATHER CLAUSE A provision in a proposal that exempts some party from the proposal's coverage on the basis of the party's present status (e.g. a provision that current license holders are "grandfathered" and are not required to comply with additional licensing requirements imposed by the proposal).
GOVERNMENT EVALUATION ACT (GEA) Law (3 MRSA 951-953) establishing system for periodic review of executive branch agencies and independent agencies of State Government by the Legislature.  The Act replaced the functions of the former legislative Audit and Program Review Committee.
HC House Communication
HIGHWAY TABLE Same as the Appropriations Table for Bills requiring Highway Fund resources.
HO House Order
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES One of the two chambers of the Maine Legislature that are vested with the legislative power of the State.  The House is composed of 151 representatives elected for two-year terms.
HOUSE RULES Rules adopted by the House of Representatives that govern procedures in that body, the duties of officers and rights and duties of members.
HP House Paper.  Denotes that the item originated in the House.
HS House Sentiment
IB Initiated Bill (by petition signatures)
Kills the item if both bodies agree
INSIST A parliamentary procedure whereby a chamber, in response to conflicting action on a bill by the other chamber, votes to stand by its previous action.  It can be accompanied by a request for a Committee of Conference.  Insist is similar but less adamant than an action to Adhere and is the opposite of an action to Recede.
INTRODUCTION The first presentation of a measure for consideration by the Legislature.
JO Joint Order
JOINT COMMITTEES Committees made up of both House and Senate members.
JOINT CONVENTION A meeting of members from both chambers for a particular purpose; usually to listen to a speaker.
JOINT ORDERS Used for administrative or organizational functions within the Legislature.  Orders may be used to express the Legislature’s will that an action be taken (to direct a state agency to do something or convey the legislature’s opinion or sentiment).  Orders may also be used to establish a legislative study or authorize a committee to report out legislation.
JT RES Joint Resolution. 
JOINT RESOLUTION Issued by the House and Senate to express special recognition or opinion.
JOINT RULES Rules adopted by both the House and the Senate at the outset of a first regular session.  The rules govern the procedures to be followed in all areas of joint legislative activity, including filing of bills, cloture dates, committee composition and actions, studies and confirmations.  In order to take any action contrary to the procedures set forth in the joint rules, each chamber must agree to a suspension of the rules.  The joint rules may be amended by a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE A Committee of legislators established pursuant to the Joint Rules and convened for a specific, finite purpose.  A select committee consists of 3 senators and 10 representatives unless otherwise specified by the order creating the committee.
JOURNAL The record of daily proceedings published by the Clerk and Secretary of the Senate pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 5 of the Constitution of Maine.  The journals do not contain debate.  A transcription of floor debates is found in the Legislative Record.
LAW Measure passed by both chambers and approved by the Governor (or veto overridden).
LAWS OF THE STATE OF MAINE The bound collections of all public laws, private and special laws, constitutional resolutions, resolves, selected joint resolutions and other significant legislative papers passed in a session.  Also includes the Revisor's Report.  The Laws of the State of Maine is published by the Office of the Revisor of Statutes each session.
LD Legislative Document.  A number assigned when the Bill is received by the Clerk or Secretary, printed, and distributed to the public.
LEGISLATIVE AIDE Professional partisan staff assistants to the Legislature, responsible to members of their respective parties for constituent work, media relations and other duties.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL The legislative body having authority over operation of the Legislature, including approval of bills for introduction and administrative and personnel matters other than personnel matters within the separate control of the House or Senate. The 10 members are composed of the President, Speaker, Democratic and Republican Floor Leaders and Assistant Floor Leaders.
LEGISLATIVE DAY A day on which a chamber convenes to do legislative business. 
LEGISLATIVE FILE The place where items are placed once they have been disposed of other than being enacted and sent to the Governor for signature.  
LEGISLATIVE RECORD A complete transcript of chamber sessions including debate.
LOBBYIST Generally refers to a person or group who, as the agent of another person or group, opposes or supports the enactment of bills.  Representing another person or a group at a public hearing does not, in itself, constitute lobbying. 
LR Legislative Request Number.  Assigned by the Revisor of Statutes when a request for a Bill is made.  LR numbers are used to track a bill until it is printed as a Legislative Document (assigned an LD number).
MAJORITY LEADER A member of either chamber selected by the members of the majority party in that chamber to act as their spokesperson and caucus leader.  According to Statute, the Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Leader may only serve 3 two-year terms.
MANDATE An action by the State that requires a local unit of government to expand or modify its activities so as to necessitate expenditures of additional local revenues.  The Maine Constitution requires the State to fund 90% of the local cost of state mandates.  The Constitution does provide that the Legislature may exempt specific expenditures from this requirement by a 2/3 vote of all members of each chamber.
MASONS MANUAL The standard reference manual of legislative rules regarding parliamentary procedures.  These rules govern legislative procedures in situations not addressed by the House or Senate rules and the Joint Rules.
MEMORIALS Joint Resolutions used to petition individuals or entities to take some action.
MINORITY LEADER A member of either chamber selected by members of the minority party in that chamber to act as their spokesperson and caucus leader.  According to Statute, the Minority Leader and Assistant Minority Leader may only serve 3 two-year terms.
MRSA Maine Revised Statutes Annotated
NEW DRAFT When changes are so extensive a New Draft of a Bill may be used in place of an amendment.  New Drafts are assigned a new Legislative Document number (LD).
NON-CONCURRENCE The House and Senate are not in agreement.
ONTP Ought Not to Pass
ORDER Document requiring some legislative action (e.g. a Joint Order) or expressing some legislative sentiment.  Common orders include congratulatory orders that recognize the accomplishment of some person, orders in memoriam expressing the legislature's regret at the death of some person, study orders, orders to committees to report out bills heard, orders to recall bills from the files or from the Governor's desk prior to signature, and orders to print additional documents.
OTP-A Ought to Pass as Amended
OUGHT NOT TO PASS REPORT If this is a unanimous report from Committee, the Bill is placed in the Legislative File, a Communication is sent by the Committee chairs to the chambers and no further action is taken.
OUT OF ORDER A departure from parliamentary procedure or a violation of the rules.  Unless done under suspension of the rules, an action out of order is prohibited.
OVERRIDE A shorthand way of referring to the legislative act of overriding a Governor's veto.
P & S Private and Special Law
PAGE A floor assistant appointed by the presiding officer, who acts as a messenger, distributes documents and keeps legislators' document books up to date.  Honorary pages, sponsored by individual legislators, are appointed from time to time by the presiding officer of each chamber.
PAIR VOTE A procedure whereby a member who is present, instead of voting, pairs his or her vote with a member who is absent and who, had that member been present, would have voted on the opposite side of the question.  A paired vote does not count toward the number required for a vote; thus if a two-thirds vote of elected membership is necessary, a paired vote will not be counted toward fulfilling the two-thirds.  Pairing is currently authorized by Senate Rules with the prior consent of the President of the Senate.  Pairing is not permitted under the House Rules.
PAPER A document before the Legislature, i.e. Senate Paper or House Paper.
PEOPLE'S VETO The procedure established in the Constitution of Maine by which the voters may petition for a Referendum on the question of whether legislation passed by the Legislature but not yet in effect should take effect.
PERFORMANCE-BASED BUDGETING Budgeting method currently used by State Government that allocates resources based on the achievement of measurable objectives derived from an agency's strategic plan and consistent with an agency's statutory responsibilities.
POINT OF INFORMATION A request from a legislator to the presiding officer for clarification of a procedural matter.
POINT OF ORDER An objection raised by a legislator that one of the rules is being or has been violated.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE The presiding officer of the Senate, elected by the members of the Senate.  According to Statute, the President of the Senate may only serve 3 two-year terms.
PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE Also called President Pro Tem.  The temporary presiding officer of the Senate appointed by President of the Senate to preside when the President is absent or leaves the podium for any reason.
PRIVATE & SPECIAL LAWS Laws that are enacted to address particular persons or institutions and that, due to their limited scope, are not codified in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (MRSA).  An example of a private and special law is the creation of or change in a water district charter.
PUBLIC HEARING An opportunity for the legislative sponsors to explain the purpose of a bill and members of the general public, state officials and lobbyists to express their views.
PUBLIC LAWS Laws of general scope and application codified in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (MRSA).  Most laws are public laws.  Some portions of public laws are not, however codified in the MRSA.  Appropriations clauses, transition clauses and some other provisions are unallocated, i.e. they are not assigned places in the MRSA.
QUORUM The minimum number of members of a chamber, committee or other group that must be present before that group may conduct official business.
QUORUM CALL A parliamentary procedure to determine whether a quorum exists in either chamber.
RECALLED FROM THE LEGISLATIVE FILES A dead bill can be reconsidered if an order is passed by 2/3 of both chambers.
RECEDE AND CONCUR Back up and agree with the other chamber.
RECOMMIT A common expression for the action whereby a bill that has been reported out of Committee is returned to that Committee or to another Committee for further consideration.  The proper motion is to Commit the bill to committee.
RECONSIDERATION An action whereby a chamber or committee returns to revote on a prior action in order to amend or reverse that decision.  The motion must be made by a legislator who voted on the prevailing side of the previous vote and requires majority approval.  If made after the legislative day following the original vote in a chamber, a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules is necessary for reconsideration.  The paper must be in the possession of the chamber voting for reconsideration.
REDISTRICTING The decennial (10 year) redrawing of legislative district lines following a census.
REFER The common expression for the committee recommendation to refer a bill to another Committee.
REFERENCE Committee assigned to work on an item
REGULAR SESSION A session of both chambers, during which the Legislature carries on its customary business.  There are two regular sessions in each biennium.  Statutory adjournment for the first regular session is the third Wednesday in June in odd-numbered years.  For the second regular session, statutory adjournment is the third Wednesday in April in even-numbered years.  During the first regular session, a legislator may submit legislation on any topic before cloture.  In the second session, the Constitution of Maine limits bills to budgetary matters, bills in the Governor's call, direct initiatives, legislation derived from committee studies during the interim and legislation of an emergency nature.  The Legislative Council reviews each legislator's requests for legislation in the second regular session to determine whether it meets Constitutional requirements.
(REMARKS) Debate or statements made by members that will appear in the Legislative Record for that body.
REPEAL To revoke or annul an existing law.
REPORTER The employee in each chamber who transcribes all floor debate for insertion into the Legislative Record.
RESOLU Resolution
RESOLV Resolve
RESOLVE LAW Laws having a temporary or limited purpose that do not amend the general public laws (e.g., a resolve to allow in individual to sue the State).
RESOLVES Resolves have the force of law but do not amend statutes directly and are of very limited duration.  Resolves are narrow in scope (the instrument for a one time occurrence such a temporary study commission).
RESOLUTION An expression of the will of the Legislature that does not have the effect of law.  The Legislature sometimes expresses its views on federal matters through a resolution directed to the US Congress or President.  A resolution is similar to an order but generally is reserved for the most solemn occasions.  This is NOT the same as a Resolve or a Constitutional Resolution.
REVISOR'S REPORT An annual report of the Revisor of Statutes that makes technical corrections (such as corrections of misspellings and typgraphical errors) that the Revisor has made to the statutory database pursuant to 1 MRSA chapter 4.
ROLL CALL Members names and how they voted are recorded.
SC Senate Communication
SEAT NUMBER (HOUSE ONLY) The number corresponding to the number of each representative's seat in the House chamber.  Seat numbers can be used as an address for interoffice mail.  This number relates only to seating placement and not to district number.  Seats are assigned by the Speaker taking into consideration the seniority and physical needs of the members.  In the Senate, seats are assigned by the majority leader in consultation with the President based on seniority and physical needs.  In the Senate, seats are not designated by seat numbers.
SECOND READING When Floor Amendments can be offered to Bills.
SECRETARY OF THE SENATE Chief administrative officer of the Senate who is elected by the members of the Senate each biennium.  The Secretary is assisted by the Assistant Secretary of the Senate, also elected by the members of the Senate each biennium.
SELECT COMMITTEE A committee of legislators convened for a specific, finite purpose.
SENATE One of the two chambers of the Maine Legislature.  The Senate is required under the Constitution of Maine to consist of an odd number of members, from 31 to 35.  Currently it has 35 members who serve two-year terms.
SENATE RULES Rules governing procedure in the Senate, including provisions regarding the powers and duties of the Senate officers and floor procedures in the Senate
SENTIMENT Used to express congratulations or recognition of a person or event.
SERGEANT-AT-ARMS The employee in either chamber who is responsible for maintaining order in the chamber and who serves as escort to the committee named to deliver messages to the Governor or the other body.  The Sergeant-at-Arms supervises the distribution of materials to legislators.
SESSION Period during which the Legislature assembles and carries out its business.  There are three basic types of sessions:  regular session, special session and confirmation session.
SO Senate Order
SP Senate Paper.  Denotes that the item originated in the Senate.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE The presiding officer of the House of Representatives elected by the members of the House each biennium.  According to Statute, the Speaker of the House may only serve 3 two-year terms.
SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE Also called Speaker Pro Tem.  The temporary presiding officer of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House to preside in the Speaker's absence or whenever the Speaker leaves the podium for any reason.
SPECIAL SESSION A session of both chambers, called by the Governor or on the Legislature's own initiative, where the Legislature meets to carry on certain pressing business.  In the event of a special session called by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, the first order of business is ratification of the call by a majority of the members of each political party.  Typically, the Legislature considers a limited number of proposals, and the session may last several days.  There is no statutory adjournment dates for special sessions.
SPONSORS A Bill must have a legislative sponsor unless its introduction is authorized by an act or resolve.  A bill may have up to 10 sponsors: one primary, one lead cosponsor from the other chamber and eight cosponsors from either chamber.  In addition to introducing their own legislation, legislators may also act as sponsors for bills proposed by other people or groups. 
SS Senate Sentiment. 
STANDING COMMITTEE Committee established by House or Senate Rules that conducts business for that body.
STATUTE The general term for acts of the Legislature.  Statutes are distinguished from other bodies of law, such as department rules, constitutional provisions and common law developed by the courts.  Statute may also refer to the bound volumes of the law, or the MRSA (Maine Revised Statutes Annotated).
STUDY Interim work conducted by a group or committee of legislators (and, in some cases, other parties) to provide a more complete or through knowledge of a subject than is usually possible during the regular session.  Studies may be authorized by the Legislative Council.  Generally, studies result in a study report that often includes proposed legislation.
STUDY REPORT A report presented by a group directed to study or investigate a particular subject or problem; frequently includes proposals for legislation.
STUDY TABLE Same as the Appropriations and Highway Table for orders proposing Legislative Study Committees that require budget and staff resources.  
SUBSTITUTING BILL FOR REPORT Action whereby a chamber chooses to accept the original bill instead of any report of a committee modifying the bill.
SUGGESTED COMMITTEE Committee assignment originally suggested by the Clerk and Secretary.  When the Bill is taken up for Reference by the legislators the actual committee assignment may change.
SUMMARY A brief description of the content of a measure which appears at the end of a legislative document or amendment.  By Joint Rule, a summary is required to be prepared by the Revisor's Office.  It is removed from the bill at engrossment and is not enacted as law.
SUSPENSION OF THE RULES In order to take any action contrary to the procedures set forth in the Joint Rules, Senate or House Rules, the chamber must agree to suspension of the Rules.
SUPPLEMENT Additions to the chambers Calendar.
TABLED Item is set aside.  No further action is taken while the item is tabled.
UNANIMOUS CONSENT The procedure by which action is taken without a vote, also referred to as an action under the gavel or under the hammer.  Distinguished from a division or a roll call vote, each of which results in a vote count.
UNANIMOUS REPORT All members of a Committee agree on a recommended action to be presented to the chambers.
VETO The Governor chooses not to sign an enacted Bill and returns it to the Legislature with his objections.  A 2/3 vote is required by both chambers to enact the Bill despite the objections of the Governor.
WITHOUT REFERENCE The Bill goes directly to the floor of the chamber for debate and action.  This usually occurs when the Bill is an emergency and there isn’t time for a Committee to undertake review.
WORK SESSION Allows Committee members to discuss bills and vote on the Committees recommendation, or report, to the Legislature, Work Sessions are open to the public but addressing the Committee during a Work Session is by the Committee’s invitation only. 
YEAS AND NAYS When a member asks for the yeas and nays they are requesting a Roll Call vote which records each members vote.

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