Legal Dictionary

omnibus bill

Legal Definition of omnibus bill


  1. A draft law before a legislature which contains more than one substantive matter, or several minor matters which have been combined into one bill, ostensibly for the sake of convenience. The omnibus bill is an "all or nothing" tactic.

Definition of omnibus bill

Further reading

An omnibus bill, from the Latin "omnibus" meaning "for everything," is a single document that is accepted in a single vote by a legislature but packages together several measures into one or combines diverse subjects into a single bill. Examples are reconciliation bills, combined appropriations bills, and private relief and claims bills. Omnibus legislation is routinely used by the United States Congress to group together the budgets of all departments in one year in an omnibus spending bill.

Another famous example of an omnibus bill is the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, a 126-page, 120-clause amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada, which dealt with issues as diverse as homosexuality, prostitution, abortion, gambling, gun control and drunk driving.


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