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What is "Crossover Week?"
April 25, 2012

A little primer about "Crossover Week" for the curious political watcher. This was written by the Speaker's Office for the media earlier this week:

Crossover week, yeah!  So…what exactly does that mean?

What is Crossover?

Crossover Deadline is established in each Legislative Body by their Rules.  Both House and Senate Rules establish Crossover Deadline as May 1st.  That means a bill originating in one body must be received in the other body by the May 1st Crossover Deadline to receive normal consideration for that year’s Legislative session.  

Example: A House bill currently on the calendar for 2nd reading, say, H. 4997 (The bill to flatten personal income tax rates) must favorably receive 2nd and 3rd reading, AND be sent to and received in the Senate by May 1st in order for the Senate to have the ability to consider this bill under the normal legislative process.  

Why do we have a Crossover Deadline?

It establishes a set workload for each body going into the final weeks of that year’s Legislative session.  After the Deadline, each body knows exactly what bills are “on their plate” for the rest of the year and gives them time to properly vet bills through the normal legislative process.  It also prevents one body from passing a major piece of legislation in the final days of the session and laying blame for the bills failure at the feet of the other body because it did not quickly pass the bill in the last days of session.  

Is there any way around the Deadline?

Bills originating in one body but sent to the other after the Crossover CAN still be considered BUT it is a much more difficult process.  The receiving body must first achieve a 2/3 vote just to be able to even take up legislation sent after the deadline.  This is very difficult and rarely accomplished but is in place to allow matters of extreme importance that come up late in the year an opportunity to be considered.  This type of Crossover “escape clause” is usually only employed in rare legislative fixes that arose very suddenly and are almost universally agreed upon by both bodies.  It is typically something which requires immediate and widely accepted action.  

A few notes about the Crossover Deadline:

  • The Crossover Deadline is ON (not before & not after) the May 1st calendar date whether or not it is a Legislative session day
  • Bills back in the originating body on amendments from the other DO NOT fall under this deadline as they have previously “crossed over” from one body to the other
  • Crossover is more important in the 2nd year of the 2-year Legislative session.  Bills passed after the Deadline in the 1st year are still active and can be taken up under normal practice by the other body during the 2nd year, however, all unpassed legislation effectively dies at the end of the 2nd year Legislative session as a new election will be held and a new General Assembly organized.  


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