Difference Wiki

Act vs. Bill: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 7, 2024
Act is a law officially passed by a legislative body. Bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature.

Key Differences

An act is a document that has been passed by a legislative body and becomes law, whereas a bill is a draft of a proposed law presented for approval to a legislative body.
A bill goes through several readings and debates before it is passed and becomes an act, which is then enforced as law.
Acts are legally binding and enforceable, while bills are merely proposals and have no legal standing until they are passed and become acts.
The process of converting a bill into an act involves various stages including committee reviews, amendments, and voting, whereas an act is the final product of this legislative process.
Bills can be introduced by government members or, in some systems, by private members or groups, but they only become acts after receiving formal approval from the legislative body and, typically, assent from the head of state.

Comparison Chart


A law that is officially passed and enforceable
A proposed law under consideration

Legal Status

Legally binding
Not legally binding until passed

Stage in Process

Final stage of the legislative process
Initial proposal and drafting stage

Approval Required

Already approved and enacted
Awaiting approval by legislative body


Result of a passed bill
Introduced by legislators or groups

Act and Bill Definitions


Document of Law.
The act was signed into law by the President.


She handed a twenty-dollar bill to the cashier.


Legal Statute.
The Civil Rights Act was a landmark legislation.


Playbill or Advertisement.
The bill for the new theater production was posted downtown.


Performance in a Play.
The first act of the play set the scene beautifully.


Legislative Proposal.
The bill was introduced in Congress for debate.


Part of a Legislative Measure.
The act included provisions for healthcare reform.


Statement of Charges.
The electric bill arrived in the mail.


Behavioral Action.
His act of kindness didn't go unnoticed.


Itemized List.
The restaurant bill detailed every ordered item.


The process of doing or performing something
The act of thinking.


An itemized list or statement of fees or charges.


Something done or performed; a deed
A charitable act.


A statement or list of particulars, such as a theater program or menu.


What is a bill in government?

A proposed law presented for debate and approval in a legislature.

Are all acts derived from bills?

Typically, yes, as bills are the proposals that become acts.

What is an act in legislative terms?

A law officially passed and enacted by a legislative body.

What's the purpose of a bill?

To propose new laws or amendments to existing laws.

Is an act the same as a statute?

Yes, an act is often referred to as a statute.

Can an act be amended?

Yes, through a subsequent legislative process.

Who can introduce a bill?

Usually, members of the legislative body, including government and sometimes private members.

How long does it take for a bill to become an act?

The time varies, depending on the legislative process and urgency.

How does a bill become an act?

By being passed by the legislature and receiving formal approval or assent.

Can a bill be rejected?

Yes, a bill can be rejected at various stages of the legislative process.

What happens after a bill is passed?

It becomes an act and is enforced as law.

Can the public influence a bill?

Yes, through lobbying, public opinion, and consultation processes.

Can citizens propose a bill?

In some systems, there are mechanisms for citizen-initiated legislation.

Is an act always a national law?

Not always, as acts can also be passed by state or local legislatures.

How are acts enforced?

By the executive branch of government through various agencies.

Do all bills become acts?

No, many bills are rejected or fail to complete the legislative process.

What happens to a bill in committee?

It is reviewed, debated, and possibly amended before going to a vote.

What's the difference in legal power between an act and a bill?

An act is legally enforceable, whereas a bill is a proposal without legal force until passed.

Are bills public documents?

Generally, yes, bills are public and open to debate and scrutiny.

Can a bill be reintroduced if rejected?

Yes, a bill can be reintroduced in a future session.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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