A Show bill is a bill that is proposed primarily for show; a bill that is not intended to pass into law. 

 

Legislators are largely politicians. As poltiicians, their primary interest is in attaining power and remaining in power. In order to accomplish this, they must make their constituents beleive that they are being represented adequately. Although the politician may not believe in an issue, they might propose a bill that makes them look good to potential voters while knowing that could not possibly pass. 

 

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) illustrated this principle so well that he was named 'Statist of the Month' for January of 2019.