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How a Bill Becomes a Law

Elected Representatives work to meet the needs of the people who live in their districts ( constituents) by proposing and supporting laws that will help achieve community goals. Learn more about the lawmaking process in this guide.

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Governor Hochul signs gun reform bill into law.
Governor Hochul signs gun reform bill into law.

What Is A Bill?

A bill is a proposal for a law that is usually introduced by a legislator (i.e. someone in the City Council, Congress, or State Legislature)

It is very important to remember that YOU have the ability and the right to influence your representatives on bills you would like to see passed or created.

How a Bill Becomes a Law in the New York City Council

Laws are usually proposed by Council Members but can also be proposed by the Mayor, Public Advocate, or Borough Presidents.

Following are the key components of lawmaking in New York City:

1. Bill Introduction
Bill introduced to the council and assigned to committee.

2. Public Hearings
Council holds public hearings on bills to hear opinions from the public and people and groups affected by the bill. Amendments can be made depending on feedback.

3. Voting
Committee votes on the final version of the bill. If approved, the bill is passed to the full Council where a majority vote is required for passage.

4. Mayoral Decision
Bill sent to Mayor for final approval. If signed, the bill becomes law in New York City’s charter. If vetoed, the Council can decide to override the decision in 30 days.

Get Involved: Public Participation in New York City Policymaking

Public participation and communication is an important part of the legislative process; It is what gives you the ability to influence the decisions made by your representatives during the law-making process.

Testify at a Public Hearing
By attending a hearing of the New York City Council, you can express your opinions on bills before your representatives.


Land Use Hearings

  • For public hearings involving land-use issues, you can submit a written testimony here


Watch Hearings Via Live Stream
If you are unable to attend a New York City Council hearing in person, you may watch a live-streamed version of the hearing, available only during the day in which the hearing takes place. Pre-recorded sessions of the hearings are not available. For future live-stream sessions of the hearing, click here


Watch this video showing testimony in front of the New York City Council.


Contact Your Elected Officials
Your voice matters and you can influence policymaking! Reach out to your representatives to give your opinions about different bills. See WCC’s guide to learn how. 

Beyond the City: Federal and State Lawmaking

Want to learn more about how bills become laws outside of city government? See the below videos for information about the processes in New York State and the federal government.

How a Bill Becomes a Law in New York State Government


How a Bill Becomes a Law in the Federal Government



“Legislation.” New York City Council.