Legislation refers to the act of legislating which is defined as the preparation and the enactment of laws.
1. The act or process of legislating; lawmaking.
2. A proposed or enacted law or group of laws.
Duhaime Legal Dictionary
Written and approved laws. Also known as statutes, acts or lex scripta.
In constitutional law, one would talk of the "power to legislate" or the legislative branch of government referring to the power of political bodies (eg: house of assembly, Congress, Parliament) to write the laws of the land.
Legislation takes shape when a proposed law is set out before a formal assembly, such as the House of Representatives or Parliament. At that time, the proposal is not law yet and it is merely a bill. Once approved in accordance with the constitutional requirements of the particular parliamentary assembly, it is then legislation, a fully enforceable law.
The Free (Legal) Dictionary
Lawmaking; the preparation and enactment of laws by a legislative body.
Legislative bodies exist to enact legislation. The legislative process is a series of steps that a legislative body takes to evaluate, amend, and vote on proposed legislation. The U.S. Congress, state legislatures, county boards, and city councils engage in the legislative process. Most legislation is enacted by Congress and state legislatures. Implementation of legislation is left to other entities, both public and private, such as law enforcement agencies, the courts, community leaders, and government agencies.
Legislation (or "statutory law") is law which has been promulgated (or "enacted") by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it. (Another source of law is judge-made law or case law.) Before an item of legislation becomes law it may be known as a bill, and may be broadly referred to as "legislation" while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business. Legislation can have many purposes: to regulate, to authorize, to proscribe, to provide (funds), to sanction, to grant, to declare or to restrict.
Under the Westminster system, an item of primary legislation is known as an Act of Parliament after enactment.
Legislation is usually proposed by a member of the legislature (e.g. a member of Congress or Parliament), or by the executive, whereupon it is debated by members of the legislature and is often amended before passage. Most large legislatures enact only a small fraction of the bills proposed in a given session. Whether a given bill will be proposed and enter into force is generally a matter of the legislative priorities of government.
Legislation is regarded as one of the three main functions of government, which are often distinguished under the doctrine of the separation of powers. Those who have the formal power to create legislation are known as legislators; a judicial branch of government will have the formal power to interpret legislation (see statutory interpretation); the executive branch of government can act only within the powers and limits set by the law.