Types of Markups Used In State Legislative Bills

A bill can undergo numerous revisions, additions, and deletions before it becomes law and the small changes matter. Here are all the states' markup meanings.

The Crucial Role of Tracking Markups in State Legislative Bills

A bill can undergo numerous revisions, additions, and deletions before a bill becomes law. Tracking bills marked up or changed, is a huge part of understanding what the bill will actually impact. Just a few additions and drastically change the meaning or reach of a piece of legislation.

Why it matters: Not every state uses the same markup methods. To effectively keep track of legislation across one or many states, you’ll need to know what the markups mean. 

Dive Deeper

Why the Small Changes Matter 

A great example of what small changes to a bill can do is what Wisconsin governor, Tony Evers was able to do. He made his limited authority work for him and locked in a school funding increase for the next 400 years. The governor of Wisconsin is allowed to alter certain legislation by replacing words and letters wherever they see fit. In a two-year budget authored by the State Legislature, Evers simply removed a hyphen and “20” to change the end date for a $325 per-student spending increase from 2025 to 2425.

Those tiny edits allowed the governor to enact four centuries of funding increases that can only be undone if a court strikes it down, or a future Legislature and governor intervene. 

👀 You can read more about all 50 governor’s powers here.

Markups Bring Transparency in Policy Making

Transparency is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. The ability to track markups in legislative bills allows citizens, advocacy groups, and legislators to understand how proposed laws evolve. It ensures that the decision-making process is open, accountable, and accessible to all. This transparency discourages covert or undisclosed revisions.

Legislative Bill Markups and Their Meaning for Each State 

Just over half (26 states) use strikethrough to show a deletion and an underline denotes an addition. But there is a range of [brackets], bolding, and UPPERCASE to show changes.

State New Text Markup Deleted Text Markup
Alabama underlined strikethrough
Alaska underlined [ bracketed ]
Arizona UPPERCASE strikethrough
Arkansas underlined strikethrough
California italics in blue strikethrough in red
Colorado UPPERCASE strikethrough
Connecticut underlined [ bracketed ]
Delaware underlined strikethrough
Florida underlined strikethrough
Georgia underlined strikethrough
Hawaii underlined [ bracketed and strikethrough ]
Idaho underlined strikethrough
Illinois underlined strikethrough
Indiana bold strikethrough
Iowa underlined strikethrough
Kansas italics strikethrough
Kentucky bold and underlined [ bracketed and strikethrough ]
Louisiana italics, bold, and underlined strikethrough
Maine underlined strikethrough
Maryland underlined strikethrough
Massachusetts Marked by the session and chapter followed by “is hereby amended by inserting after the word “insert specific word” - then added text.” For deleted text it is the same process but with “is hereby amended by striking out” - then the line number – then the text.”
Michigan bold
Amendment text is color-coded based on the chamber that offers the amendment.
Minnesota underlined strikethrough
Mississippi underlined Language such as “amend by striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:”
Missouri bold [ bracketed and strikethrough ]
Montana underlined strikethrough
Nebraska underlined strikethrough
Nevada bold italics in blue strikethrough in red
New Hampshire bold italics [ bracketed and strikethrough ]
New Jersey underlined [ bracketed and bold ]
New Mexico highlighted and bold highlighted, bold, and strikethrough
New York underlined italics [ bracketed ]
North Carolina underlined strikethrough
North Dakota underlined strikethrough
Ohio underlined strikethrough
Oklahoma underlined strikethrough
Oregon bold [ italics and bracketed ]
Pennsylvania underlined [ bracketed ]
Rhode Island underlined strikethrough
South Carolina underlined strikethrough
South Dakota underlined strikethrough
Tennessee Fully noted. Fully noted.
Texas underlined strikethrough
Utah underlined strikethrough
Vermont underlined strikethrough
Virginia italics strikethrough
Washington underlined strikethrough
West Virginia underlined strikethrough
Wisconsin underlined strikethrough
Wyoming underlined and says "insert" text underlined and says "delete" text

Stay Up to Date on All Legislation Changes 

Seer is making it easier than ever to stay up to date on all changes happening with a bill including markups. We keep you in the loop at all times for the bills that matter most to you.

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