Before a bill becomes a law it must go through different stages of enactment process in the Nitijela. The first stage is the Introduction. The bill is signed and sent to Clerk for pre-file. The Clerk assigned a Bill number and place on agenda for first reading. The Clerk reads the Bill on first reading as it appears on the agenda. The Nitijela may accept or rejects the Bill but not debate. The Speaker then assigns the Bill to a Standing Committee.
The second stage is the public consultation. Once a bill is assigned to a committee, the committee may conduct public consultations, such as public hearings or meetings. Once the committee conducted public consultation on the bill, it will report its recommendations back to the Nitijela whether to adopt the bill or not. If the Nitijela accepts the recommendation, the Bill proceeds to second reading.
The third stage is the second reading. Upon the adoption of the recommendation by the Committee, the bill will now be on the agenda for second reading. A member may seek further amendment during the second reading. At this stage, a floor amendment may be made to further amend the bill.
The fourth stage is the third reading. Once the Bill passes the second reading, the Clerk puts the Bill on agenda for third reading or final reading. Members may debate the pro and cons of the Bill during the third reading before vote on it. Members may also refer the Bill to the Committee of the Whole for any further amendment to the Bill before vote, or recommit to the committee, or a member may move a motion to file the bill, which means to reject the bill, or a motion to defer the debate at the later. At the final reading the Speaker calls the roll and members will cast their votes on the bill.
The fifth stage is the further consultation with the Council of Iroij in relations to customary law, traditional practice, or land tenure that is affecting the Bill. The Clerk will transmit the Bill to the Chairman of the Council of Iroij – upon deliberation, the Council of Iroij will inform the Nitijela whether they adopt a resolution to further amend the bill or not. The Constitution provides that within the 7 days of the transmittal of the Bill, the Counsel of Iroij is unable to adopt a resolution the Speaker will proceed to certify the Bill.
The final stage of the process is the certification. Once the Bill passes the third reading and has been referred to the Council of Iroij, it is certified by the Speaker. The clean version of the Bill is prepared for the Speaker to sign, counter-signed by the Clerk and seal with the official seal of the Nitijela. The law now called Public Law, which normally appears as P.L. 2014-01. In the later stage, the Legislative Counsel will codify these public laws into the Marshall Islands revised Code, which the laws will be officially cited such as 1 MIRC 2 under the Marshall Islands Revised Code.