There are several different types of legislation. For this assignment you are writing a “public bill” for introduction into the House of Representatives. Public bills are items of legislation that affect the general welfare or address a general question. Therefore, you’re writing a potential policy that affects a wide range of the general public (or, at least, your constituents). Your public bill will be placed on the House Calendar. Again, there are several different types of legislative calendars depending on the type of legislation being debated. However, we are simplifying the process by using a single calendar for all bills. All bills will be introduced in the second session of the 114th Congress. You do not need to give your bill an “H.R. number.” Use the sample legislation as a formatting guide. Use the following websites to find legislation introduced by the representative you are playing, or create your own legislation based on your representative’s policy goals (refer to assignment #2 for ideas). Use any legislation you find as a guide, but know that you not not have include every single aspect of the legislation into your assignment. Your representative’s .gov website The library of Congress database – www.congress.gov (you can search by House member) Steps for Writing your Legislation Step 1 – Write a statement of purpose for the legislation you intend to propose. Some elements are common to all pieces of legislation. For example, every piece of legislation has a statement of purpose that can be found directly beneath its number. This statement of purpose explains what the bill is about. If you look at the sample legislation, you’ll notice these statements of purpose come immediately following the notation, “A bill to…” Step 2 – Give your legislation a title. In addition to a statement of purpose, most major legislation also includes a title—that is, a way of referring to the legislation. Sometimes these titles are simply descriptive (e.g., “Nuclear Threat Reduction Act”); other times, they can be catchy phrases or can be converted to easy-to-remember acronyms (e.g, “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO).
The title should begin “Section 1” after your statement of purpose. Below the title you need to include a brief paragraph telling everyone that you are introducing the bill. Additionally, you should include the committee you would like the bill to be referred to. Therefore, you need to review the committee descriptions to ensure you select the appropriate committee (found at the end of this document). It is generally a good idea to pick a policy issue covered by the committee you are assigned to. Step 3 – Draft as least one, but as many as are needed, statements of findings or “whereas” clauses for your legislation. Many pieces of legislation include a justification for the legislation. In this case, the justification comes in the form of a statement of findings, which comes after your title. You will need to present some justification for your legislation.
Step 3 – Outline the major themes of your legislation. The remainder of the legislation should be focused on the substance of what it is you are trying to accomplish. As you write this section, you will need to separate your main ideas into major headings and include details about each of the subheadings. These details could include the appropriation of funds to support the legislation; they might specify to whom the legislation will apply (what part of the population?); and/or these details may simply clarify your major themes. Be as broad or specific as you feel is necessary to get your message across. Your major themes should be a part of section 3 in your legislation. Refer to the sample legislation to guide you through this process. Step 4 – Draft the approach sunrise and sunset provisions in your legislation. A sunrise provision sets a date for the legislation to take effect. A sunset provision sets a date—if you so desire—for the legislation to expire. All legislation includes some form of sunrise provisions. Your sunrise/sunset provisions should be a part of section 3 of your legislation.