Normal Process Through the City Council

Step 1 – Bills are drafted by City departments or the Council.

Step 2 – Upon receipt by the Council, bills are placed on the Order of the Day for passage on first reading.

Step 3 – After first reading, bills are referred to the appropriate committees for review or amendment. The bills, as approved by the committees, are sent back for public hearing and passage on second reading.

Step 4 – A public hearing is held when required by law, or when deemed necessary by the Council. Bills usually pass second reading concurrently with public hearing.

Step 5 – Bills are required to be published in the daily newspaper after passage on second reading.

Step 6 – After second reading and public hearing bill are referred back to the committees for further review or amendment.

Step 7 – Upon approval by the committees, bills are sent back to Council for passage on third reading.

Step 8 – After third reading, bills are transmitted to the Mayor for approval or disapproval.

Upon receipt, the Mayor has 10 days to review the bill. If the Mayor signs the bill indicating approval, it immediately becomes an ordinance. If the Mayor does not return it disapproved within that time, the bill takes effect as if the Mayor had signed it. Upon enactment, ordinances are published by title in the legal section of a daily newspaper. If the Mayor disapproves the bill, the Mayor must specify the objections in writing and return the bill to the City Council within 10 days. The Council may, after five and within 30 days after the bill has been returned, override the veto by six affirmative votes.(Sec. 3-203.1, RCH)

Voting and General Information

Five affirmative votes are needed to pass bills on the required three separate readings. The one exception relates to bills authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds, which require six affirmative votes. If a bill fails to pass final reading within a two-year period, it shall be deemed filed.(Sec. 1-2.4, ROH)

Public hearings are required by law on bills relating to the legislative and executive budgets, real property tax rates, proposed improvement district projects, zoning ordinances and the General Plan, Development Plans and revisions or amendments to these.

Ordinances Proposed via Initiative Power

Since 1982, voters have been able to propose and adopt ordinances through initiative power. This power, however, does not extend to any ordinance authorizing or repealing the levy of taxes, the appropriation of money, the issuance of bonds, the salaries of county employees or officers, or any matter governed by collective bargaining contracts.(Sec. 3-401.2 RCH)

Any proposed ordinance approved by the majority of voters voting on the matter shall be adopted, and becomes effective 10 days after certification of the results of the election, or at the time and under the conditions specified in the ordinance. An ordinance adopted by initiative power is not subject to a veto by the Mayor.