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A “hopper” refers to a physical box or an electronic system where proposed bills or resolutions are submitted in a legislative body.

The concept comes from the tradition in many parliaments and congresses where a literal box, often called the hopper, was used for members to drop in their proposed legislation.

Once a bill is in the hopper, it is officially introduced and begins the legislative process.

Origin of “Hopper”

The term ‘hopper’ is most commonly used in the United States, specifically in the context of the House of Representatives.

The physical hopper in the House is a mahogany box that sits on the clerk’s desk.

When a representative has written a bill they would like to introduce, they sign it, and drop it into the hopper.

It’s from here that the term ‘to hopper’ comes into play, meaning to introduce a bill to the legislative process.

In the digital age, many legislative bodies have moved to electronic systems, but the term ‘hopper’ has stuck around.

Now, it can often refer to the specific part of a legislative computer system where new bills are submitted.

Despite the change in technology, the principle remains the same: the ‘hopper’ is the point of entry for new legislation.

Once a bill is in the hopper, it gets an official designation, and the legislative body’s leadership decides which committee or committees will review it.

This committee stage is critical, as it’s where the bill will be studied, debated, and potentially amended.

If the committee votes to move the bill forward, it will go to the floor of the legislative body for further debate and eventual voting.

The ‘hopper’ is a crucial part of the legislative process, symbolizing the point at which an idea begins its journey through the complex and often challenging path to becoming law.

However, it’s worth noting that not all bills that enter the hopper make it out the other side as law. In fact, the vast majority of proposed bills never make it past the committee stage.

Yet, the ‘hopper’ remains an essential first step in the process, a testament to the democratic principle that allows legislators to propose new laws and reforms.

Use of “Hopper” in a sentence

  • After months of research and drafting, the senator finally put the comprehensive environmental reform bill into the hopper, marking the beginning of its legislative journey.
  • The representative’s proposal for increased education funding was in the hopper, ready for committee assignment and review.
  • As the legislative session came to a close, dozens of bills remained in the hopper, awaiting action in the next session.