Brainstorming to Write a Bill
Writing your legislation is easier than you might think. Below are some simple guidelines to follow for writing your bill.
Select an area of interest:
The first step in writing your bill is to select a topic. You should write a bill on an area of national politics that you already know a little bit about. The next step is to pick one problem or issue from your general area of interest on which you want your legislation to focus. Choose a problem and solution that leaves room for debate. A bill to cure cancer is a more difficult proposition because no one will want to argue against it. You might want to explore pending or previous legislation to get ideas. The Library of Congress keeps a free database of U.S. Congressional Bills called THOMAS.
Use the checklist to see if your “issue” qualifies. If you can answer “yes” to at least one of the following, proceed:
The majority of people throughout the country feel it is a problem to be solved at a national level.
The problem exceeds the jurisdiction of more than one state.
The local problem is so severe, state resources cannot resolve it.
The problem is identified as a national goal in by the U.S. Constitution (preamble)
There is no state-level government to handle the problem.
Make sure that the problem really exists.
Is there solid statistical evidence from unbiased sources?
Can you find honest assessments of the problem?
Are you familiar with the existing conditions of the problem?
Think of possible solutions to achieve your goal.
Is the goal of the solution clearly defined?
Does the solution deal with the cause of the problem?
Is the solution constitutional?
Does the solution seem to efficiently solve the problem?
Drafting Your Bill
Title of Bill.
Title your bill, beginning with the words “A Bill to …”: for instance, “A Bill to Ban Texting While Driving” or “A Bill to Mandate All Public School Children Receive Flu Vaccinations.” Center your title in the middle of the page.
The Enactment Clause.
Begin Line 1 with the phrase, “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that. . .” and finish that sentence with a 5-15 words summarizing your proposed law. Do not type any part of this sentence in all capital letters or in bold print.
The Body of Your Legislation.
Section 1: Main effect of the legislation
Type “Section 1:” on the next new line. After the colon, begin stipulating exactly what your law will do and require. Section 1 may include a subsection explaining vocabulary or special terms and a subsection listing additional requirements for your law. Each subsection should be labeled “Subsection 1a,” “Subsection 1b” and so forth.
Section 2: Limitations and restrictions.
Type “Section 2:” on a new line. After the colon, carefully explain who will enforce your law and how. Additional subsections can explain whether multiple agencies will enforce different aspects of the law. For example, a law requiring a vaccine may require one agency to purchase the vaccine and another organization to administer it.
Section 3: Cost/Penalties or fines.
Type “Section 3:” on a new line. After the colon, describe the funding for your law. Every bill needs start-up funds. Criminal laws and other prohibitive bills might have consequences such as jail or fines, which you can include as an additional funding source for the bill. Include multiple subsections for penalties.
Section 4: Date of Effect.
Type “Section 4: This bill will be enacted on . . . ” and whatever future date you deem appropriate on the next new line. Laws are often enacted on Jan. 1; at the start of a fiscal year on July 1; and occasionally at the start of the school year on Aug. 1 or Sept. 1.
Adapted from: http://www.congresslink.org/print_lp_mocksenatesimulation_wtb.htm#sthash.kk1bJZFj.dpuf and http://www.ehow.com/how_7554583_write-bill-student-congress-competition.html